No one cares as much about your designs as you do

Early in my career, I was really busy trying to learn the tools of the trade. I was obsessed with color combinations, animations, gradients, and typefaces. I’d get incredibly excited when I created a cool-looking new design or learned a new way to build something in Photoshop.

This excitement would inevitably turn into frustration when I showed it to a client, and they didn’t see how clever my solution was, and wanted to go with something else. WTF? I put so much work into this, don’t you see how cool and great this design is?!

This is the epitome of ego-centric design, and something you see a lot of in the industry right now.

You’re not an artist. You’re a toolmaker.

The truth about design is that no regular person will ever look at your work and think to themselves “wow, I am so delighted by this micro-interaction the designer chose to use here”. People don’t care about your work — people are just trying to get through their day. Life is hard. They use your product for a few seconds, and then they need to go pick up their kids from school, or meet their friends for dinner. They hope that your product makes it a little bit easier for them to get through their day.

You’re not an artist. You’re a toolmaker. If the tool doesn’t work right, it doesn’t matter how stylish it is. You can add a little style to it after you’ve figured out that it legitimately makes people’s lives a little easier.

Great Design Is Humble

Approaching design with the humility that comes from this mindset is the true meaning of human-centered design. It’s the core of true customer delight. (link to article on the true meaning of delight)

Share your story

What has your experience been, working with designers? Have they been human-centered or ego-centric? Share it with us in the comments.

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