Finding a Path to Achievement

Many of us face the situation of working to match well executed design with project needs, constraints, and requests from stakeholders. We can come across situations where the pursuit of what we would consider “good design” doesn’t line up with what is being asked of us. In this video I discuss the idea of working with stakeholders to find a path to achievement as opposed to getting in a standoff situation.

Not every design scenario we encounter will be ideal, but the challenge for us as designers is to work within those scenarios to find solutions that help accomplish the goals set before us, while still pushing for good design.

** A bit of a disclaimer here. I know that there are times when we simply have to take a stand against bad practices, this isn’t all of the time though, and the more we can show better ways to achieve the goals before us even when constraints or requests seem un-reasonable the better we show our value as designers.

28. November 2011 by Aaron Irizarry
Categories: Design/Development, User Experience, Video | Tags: , , , , | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. Brilliant. It really is sad how much great talent becomes corporate garage clutter because the talent can’t figure out a way to articulate or out-argue upper management. We tech guys aren’t trained in business arguing and tend to back down and become apathetic.

    You’re fortunate to have design skills, as this gives you the ability to take the goals and needs of the business (as your mentioned) and literally design out a story that includes little callouts identifying the goals and the paths to get there. I’m left trying to argue my way with analytics samples and sweet talk. :)

    I’m bookmarking this one Aaron, it’s super awesome!

  2. Couldn’t have said it better myself Aaron! I’m always dealing with this. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’m faced with clients saying “we need to use (X).” I find myself turning it back around asking questions and then saying “Well I’d rather find out what the goals are and then choose the technology. Let’s have the goals dictate the technology, not the other way around”

    This comes often when there’s a “set way” in their minds, like you say about that’s how they’ve always done it, or that their role has had success (or failure) doing it that way.

    What I find a challenge in is I will try to not come across as confrontational or not willing to listen by asking more and more questions. Some people will take it that way and that’s a hard aspect to either start the project off, or land a potential client, when you can’t connect because you are just trying to understand the needs. How do you present yourself in that manner so that they understand that you aren’t trying to be a pain?

    • @Jason – I find that levity usually works. If I have a series of tough questions that I need answered, I acknowledge it up front: “I know these questions are going to make your brain hurt — I’m really sorry! Do the best you can. It will help us a lot!” You’ll always have clients who are set in their ways, but the good ones will objectively weigh the pros and cons. Sometimes they ask for a particularly technology just to sound informed, or because they’re accustomed to it, without being aware of the other options.

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