When Personal Opinion Causes Design to Fail

Design Risk Assessment and Mitigation

Imagine walking into the office or into your e-mail inbox to find this scenario: One person on your team says they like Design A best, and another person says they prefer Design B. But wait–the interns in the corner are all insisting on Design C. They’re arguing about the designs, each refusing to budge. Your morning is ruined, and chances are, so is your project.

Don’t get caught in this trap. Remember: subjective decision making increases the probability of design failure. In order to maximize your ROI, it’s important for team members to remain as objective as possible.

That being said–why do designs fail? It hurts–the goals aren’t achieved and your business bears the consequences. There are a number of explanations, including…

  • Poor planning
  • Cursory research
  • A superficial understanding of design objective
  • A poorly structured team

Let’s focus on the last bullet point. Improperly-structured client and designer teams lead to opinionated, aggressive decisions. You want the opposite: tranquility. Peace. OBJECTIVITY.

Well, you might be saying right now. If that’s the case, then how should client and designer teams be structured? Let’s take a closer look.

Team Structure

Designer’s job description: Reduce the risk of design failure. Draw upon years of expertise to:

  • conduct thorough research
  • intimately understand the design’s purpose
  • create metrics for measuring success
  • effectively structure team members.

Design team project managers should have relevant past experience with the project. Beware of PMs that are just messengers who act as go-betweens for the client and designer. They try to reduce noise for the design team, but they’re actually the weakest link in the project.

Client’s job description: Trust your designer’s guidance. Understand that design decisions are (and should rightfully be) focused on user preferences and habits, not your own.

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