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Lesson #4 in Interaction Design: Sometimes design is the easy part

Lesson #4: Sometimes design is the easy part.

Eric St. Onge, Class of 2011

Design can be an unpredictable process. But on some projects, there’s a moment where I can immediately tell that I’ve landed on the right solution. I put together a design proposal, confidently review it with my coworkers, and get … nothing.

Whether it’s a shrug of the shoulders or a shake of the head, if I know I’ve landed on the right idea and I don’t know how to improve on it, the only real option is to convince others to buy into it. And the way to do that can be as creative as the design process itself.

I might start with arguments about consistency, aesthetics, and learnability. If those don’t work, I keep in mind that design is a human process, so old- fashioned negotiation and Aristotelian arguments still work well. Depending on my level on conviction, I might even resort to more Machiavellian tactics. But i probably won’t feel good about it.

In the end, remember that coworkers are just the first round of people you need to convince. There are still managers, engineers, clients, and ultimately customers that need convincing. If you’re not ready to do that, maybe it’s time to go back to that drawing board.

Eric St. Onge is an Interaction Designer and Prototyper at Apple, Cupertino, CA, USA.

This post is part of an ongoing series this month.

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