Jeff Zych

My Beliefs About Design

Trees by Spencer Backman on Unsplash Photo by Spencer Backman on Unsplash

  • Design doesn’t own the customer experience. A great customer experience is the emergent outcome of the contributions of every department.
  • Design is not the center of the universe. Design is one function of many at an organization.
  • Other departments have more customer contact than you. Listen to them.
  • Don’t hand your work down from on high and expect everyone to worship its genius. You need to bring people along for the ride so that they see how you got to your solution, and can get there themselves.
  • Everyone can improve the customer’s experience, not just designers. Foster an environment where everyone applies a user-centered mindset to their work.
  • There’s no perfect, one-size-fits-all design process. Skilled designers have a variety of tools in their tool belt, and know when to use each one.
  • Done is better than perfect.
  • No design is perfect. Always be iterating.
  • Don’t fall in love with your designs. Be willing to kill your darlings.
  • You should always feel a little uncomfortable showing your work to peers. If you don’t, you’ve waited too long.
  • The only thing that matters to customers is what ships. Not your prototypes, wireframes, user journeys, or any other artifact of the design process.
  • The only true measure of your design’s success is the response from customers.
  • Stay curious. Regularly seek out new ideas, experiences, and perspectives.
  • Stay humble. You don’t know what’s best just because the word “designer” is in your title.
  • Don’t hide behind jargon and the cloak of the “creative.”
  • Great design is rooted in empathy. Empathy not just for the end user, but also for your coworkers, company, and society.
  • Having empathy for your customers means actually talking to them.
  • Don’t automatically ignore someone’s feedback because they’re more junior than you, or don’t have “designer” in their title. Don’t automatically listen to someone’s feedback because they’re more senior than you.
  • Design needs to be aligned to the needs of the business, and deliver measurable business value. Don’t design for design’s sake.
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