Before jumping on others, assuming this is their fault, let’s take a moment and look at ourselves.

My job is to be an advocate for good user experience, but more than that, it’s to contribute to a successful project delivery. It’s good to remind ourselves, and our team mates, of that. Often, the business owners are concerned with getting their features in the next release, the engineers just want to build something that works, and we want to design the best experience possible. The conflicts are obvious. Something that is important to the business may not be desirable for the users. The great design we come up with may be very difficult to implement.

So step back. We’re all in this together.

To be successful, we must balance the business needs, the user needs, and the technical needs. These are the three legs that our project stands on. If one is short, we fall.

This doesn’t mean give in to the needs of the other groups. It means show some sympathy for the pressures they face. Try to understand what is driving them and their needs. This helps us make better design proposals and will likely make others more sympathetic to what we are trying to do.

Do you think this is the way to go or are there enough others fighting for what they want and we should defend our turn?

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2 comments on “Balance”

  1. Joel Reply

    Agreed, Jer. A lot of times I think that what’s most lacking in a lot of situations, both personal and professional, is empathy. Take a second to step back, and look at the big picture from outside of your normal vantage point.

    It might not be fun, but when there’s an end goal – all parts need to move synchronously.

  2. Alan Reply

    I completely agree. As a graphic design student at Drexel, we are required to know not only how to design a website, but how to build it as well and know some of the code. Though we may never really code a client’s website, what good is it to design something that can’t be done? It is my opinion that for a team to be successful in whatever their project is, they must not only be at least proficient in their own field, but also understand to some extent what their teammates do as well.

    Two lessons from high school that I’ll never forget: The first was in a website that I was trying to build that I could not figure out how to code. My solution came later (afterwards) with full support of PNGs and new CSS styles. The second was one time in the print shop where I worked and a designer’s artwork to be screen printed had 12 colors, which is hard if not impossible for large printers, let alone small ones like ourself. In both cases, changes that detracted from the end product resulted because the designer in each case did not understand the technical aspect.

    I would imagine (or at least hope) that other schools think similarly to Drexel (in all fields, not just design) and that this problem may be thought of no more than common sense in time.

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