Product designers are some great people. Out of nothing, they create a masterpiece that does not only looks functional but are visually appealing and send the right message. No doubt, product designers are critical thinkers and design great products based on specifications. However, just like any other professionals, they make mistakes. In this article, Plant discusses the common mistakes designers make.
As a designer, knowing about these mistakes would help you avoid making them. One thing I have come to realize as a designer myself is that these mistakes are more common than I thought. I have done my research, I have asked and looked at work done by my team and other teams as well, and my findings are discussed below.
One of the greatest and the most common mistakes designers make is thinking everything is about appearance. Yes, a product has to be visually appealing to its customers else, no-sells would be made, and you will run out of business. However, there is more to having a topnotch product than just having an aesthetically beautiful product. You need to think about two more things — performance and cost.
I do not need to tell you that products are designed in order to perform a specific function. If they fail to perform that function, they will be visually appealing for nothing — and people are after performant products with aesthetic appeal. The cost of the product should also be considered and you do not want to end up with a product that’s priced too high that intending customers cannot buy.
More than often, some product designers trust their instincts so much that they produce the wrong product. This is because they did not work according to specification. It is even a good practice not to start work until you get a full description of the product requirements. This is because regardless of how beautiful a product design is, if it is not done according to specification, they would never be appreciated.
We have once done a design for someone with a vague requirement. They kept requesting for changes to be made along as we progressed until we lost our nerves. At last, the design had to be discontinued — it was a mess, and the client felt it was our fault. If we had insisted on getting a good requirement and specification, before starting, this wouldn’t have happened.
Copyright infringement is a big offense and might get you to lose money even if the owner of the copyright opted for out of the court settlement. However, it is common practice for product designers to forget about intellectual properties of those when they are designing any peace. Since it is a gross mistake that would potentially make you lose money and reputation, it becomes very important always to consider intellectual properties of others in order to avoid been dragged into the mud for copyright infringement.
Before making any work a part of your work, make sure you have done research and ascertained that the work is not covered by any copyright. In the case where it is copyrighted, seek the permission of the owner and let them give you permission in writing. This is to avoid being labeled an intellectual thief in the future.
I can do all kind of design with just my Sketch — does this sound familiar? Some designers have been so fond of one tool that it becomes their all in all. They will even prefer to use it for a work that the tool is inefficient. This is a mistake that needs to be stopped. It leads to wasting of time and decreases work quality.
The best product designs are the ones done with the best and most efficient tool. It is important to state that I am not saying Sketch is not an efficient design tool. In fact, Sketch, when used together with Plant, is one of the best design software in the market. However, there are some design works that you would rather not use them.
Most projects come with deadlines and as such designers work tirelessly to meet those deadlines. However, working to meet deadlines is one of the causes of doing a poor job. When you work under pressure, you won’t be at your best and might end up messing the design up. Sadly, this is one practice product designers go through every single day.
To avoid working under pressure, always add a buffer to the time you feel you will get the job done. By doing so, you are sure you’ll get the job done without working under pressure. It is better you finish the work before the time than rush the work to meet the deadline. If you do not work under pressure, your mind will be at a state of harmony and will help more in producing a good masterpiece.
Most product designers are perfectionists. They work themselves up in other to design a product that their faults cannot be pinpointed. However, it is a common practice that nothing is perfect. No matter how hard you try to make a perfect masterpiece, it will still have some faults unnoticed by you. You doubt me? Go to Amazon or any other website with product reviews, and you’ll discover even products with world-class product designers are fault-laden. In fact, they are aware of some of these faults but ship them like that — so they can correct them in later versions when the conditions are right.
You need to forget about perfection and start sticking to specifications. When you meet the specifications described in the product requirements, you can touch them a lot and leave them like that. You do not have to keep wasting time.