Sometimes, in my less stellar moments, I wonder if I will always have bad projects. You look at the “stars” of the IA/IxDA community and they always talk about really cool projects, but they don’t really talk about all the bad projects they’ve worked on.
I’m not talking bad as in the client being difficult with the design, but more in terms of:
- A design can only be as good as it is designed AND implemented. What you might express in your design may not translate if the programmer doesn’t know the latest and greatest.
- A design can only be as well defined as the vision is. You can sometimes try to get a client to focus, but sometimes it is impossible to get consensus and vision, written requirements. It’s also difficult to get people to stay away from changing visions.
As a freelancer, the years have given plenty of clients and projects. When I have a rash of bad projects (where, for me, I feel I am not creating the best I can create given the situation), I start to feel that “maybe it’s me.” In my quiet, sad moments, I think “Maybe I’m just not that great at what I do.”
And, coming back to those “stars,” they must have been low on the totem pole at one point in time; must have had bad projects (those not worth mentioning but were typically frustrating and de-motivating).
This morning I was trying to console myself with Happy Bunny thinking: “It’s not me, it’s you. If you weren’t so stupid, I wouldn’t hate you so much.” (or something like that)
After having done years of UI design, requirements analysis, content writing, I’ve decided something: I do not like requirements gathering and writing. Much preferred is the creative work at the beginning – user analysis, business analysis, interviewing users, personas, scenarios, UI design, navigation, content models, planning structures.
But when it comes to the nitty gritty “email validation rules” and “auto-numbering schemes” and “what happens if a and b and c happens…” and “what happens if a and b and z happen,” I easily tire. I’ve always known I’m not a details person, that I much prefer the up front creative work and like to hand off to someone to wrap things up.
Does this make me a bad user experience person? Isn’t the devil in the details? Aren’t the details where people get tripped up? Should I be paying more attention, be involved longer?
What do you think?
This article is a few months old, but thought I’d post for posterity. Fun?
People have been sketching user interfaces since the birth of the web (possibly even before) but the sketches usually stay locked away in old notebooks and discarded bar napkins in Austin, Texas. Many of the websites we use started out as scrawlings, and with people like Jakob Nielsen and Bill Buxton spreading the gospel of faster, cheaper paper prototypes, “next year’s Twitter” may already exist on paper.
We don’t usually get to see this handmade stage of the web, but some folks have been thoughtful/narcissistic enough to upload photos of their UI sketches, and I find them fascinating.
Check out this post on Digital Design Blog, http://www.digitaldesignblog.com/2008/05/08/more-experiments-with-space/.
There is a pretty cool site from White Void with Z-indexed elements using flash. I guess the iPhone doesn’t support this but what a great browsing experience if you could actually touch the elements. Seems tailor-made for touch screens this one…