In one corner of the world a user interface designer is trying over and over again to perfect that trash icon. He made it really far and spent a few hours fiddling and trying over the tenth time to make a little icon that is easily recognisable and distinct from any others.
In another corner of the world, a small group of designers discuss how to best present analytics data, based on requirements passed by analysts and or project managers and owners, only after days of initial research. They are going into the new terrains of “service design”.
The fact that a counterpart in several other places also spend countless productive hours selecting colors, making the correct ambience of the front page, experimenting on placements, is a daylight reality.
A lonely designer next to me is buried in sketches and only limited by his imagination. The time spent to do this is a solid foundation to a better product.
It seems a little unfair that we take this experimentation process out of “productive hours”, or for any project estimation. It also seems a little unfair to take out design process like this out of the equation and ask designers to do the actual development, like front-end development. Because design is a beautiful process in itself, and it is equally imperative to the success of the resulting product, as is a good quality ode to code.
I believe in process, I believe in sketches and I believe in any kind of design “atmosphere”, be it static mockups or interactive prototypes. Designers should spend their process time solving visual & communication problems.
Because design isn’t a mechanical process, it is a fluid, dynamic and often a “back-and-forth” process over multiple failures. Once it’s set in stone, it’s not design anymore.