RIP Mr. Mock-up: The Grief Life-Cycle of an Iterative Designer

There’s a saying that usability experts are from Mars and graphic designers are from Venus. This clever saying essentially highlights the dichotomy between form and functionality–oftentimes what is aesthetically pleasing is not necessarily wholly user-centric. Typically, graphic designers aren’t required to fully flesh out usability or functionality–they simply lipstick a pig. They are unburdened by the often complex and contextually challenging issues of linkage and infrastructure.

However, the 30 day web project ignores this longstanding feud, and in a sacrilegious act of consolidation combines these two roles into one. That’s perfectly OK and I actually prefer this set-up, just realize when if  my latest iterative mock-up is dismissed at first glance and I appear to initially balk at the decision, just give me a moment. I am going through a mini version of the iterative designer’s grief life-cycle: I’m lamenting the potentially dozens of decisions and back-end research it took to arrive at what you’re now holding in your hand. And I’m accepting that somewhere along the way, I missed the mark. Just let me say my goodbye’s and I’ll be fine in a second. Even if I object to your opinion, this is just one of the phases. I’m  simply attempting last-minute mock-up CPR to see if there’s any vitality left in this iteration. Before we declare it DOA and the last shovel-full of dirt is thrown on top, can it be resuscitated? Is there any element we can carve out to donate to the next needy (and not yet created) recipient? If not, that’s OK. Because funerals are no fun and truthfully, black really isn’t my color. Iterative designers are forced to fail all the time. The idea is to do it fast and to do it forward. I’m convinced this method is made to arouse a subtle aspect of discontentment within a designer. We can’t stagnate or get lazy because we are constantly under the gun. And everytime we fail we feel the immediate repercussions. So, rest assured tomorrow’s version will be even better than the now defunct one you’re  holding in your hand….because I’m tired of digging graves for mock-ups.

Coming Up: Adventures in Usability (and the Benefits of Eye-Candy Distractions)

And Later: Death by Meeting: What I’ve Learned and How to make It Work


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