I'm Brett Slatkin and this is where I write about programming and related topics. You can contact me here or view my projects.

30 March 2013

Good design feels uncomfortable

One of the hallmarks of a good design or redesign is you don't like it initially. Good design pushes you outside your comfort zone. Good design is not what you had before or what you're used to. Good design takes away things that were inessential, things you may have liked or found useful.

When you find yourself arguing or complaining about design, stop and think. Hold your judgement. Wait it out. Try the new design for a while and see how it actually feels. The way you rationally think about design changes is not how you will actually interact with the new design. Your opinion is valid but probably irrelevant.

I've seen reactions like this recently with a product I work on and many others that I use. People deal with it like the five stages of grief (and please, I don't mean to trivialize real grieving):
  1. Denial: "This must be temporary, this redesign can't be permanent."
  2. Anger: "This design is terrible, why would they do this to us?"
  3. Bargaining: "Just give me an option to use the old design please!"
  4. Depression: "Ugh-- now I need to find a replacement to use instead."
  5. Acceptance: "Well, I guess I'll give it a shot and see how it goes."
When you get to the other side of this you almost always prefer the new design. Because the new design is better! The designer knew what they were doing. Surprise, surprise! They were willing to take risks and deal with your bullshit complaining because long-term they knew what was best.

So please: Trust designers, have an open mind, stop complaining.
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