5 January 2015

Design Blindness - Kelly Elcock

Author: Kelly Elcock, Graphic Designer.  Article via JustONE.


You’ve got an incredible idea or design solution – you’ve internalised it, mapped it out and have spent months crafting the finer details.  Finally, ready for the big reveal, you call in your fellow colleagues and stakeholders to see your keynote presentation.  The design makes complete sense in your head but after the meeting you’re dumbfounded that no one else ‘gets it’.  Designing in isolation brings big surprises and can cost companies millions of dollars.


Whether you’re designing a digital interface or a business strategy, it’s important you’re open to failure, and eager for critique early and often. Incorporate user-centred approaches of prototyping, testing ideas with users and lean in for the tiny surprises that steer the process.  How we and our users see the world is different and empathy is a way of closing that gap.  What are the trends, habits, needs, wants and feelings of your users?  Vocalise, sketch and prototype your ideas and observe how your users interact with them.  Test if your customer can complete a task, differentiate between icons, or if a key functionality is missing or not working.  Use your findings to inform and steer your design.


Braden Kowitz is a design partner at Google ventures and founded the team’s design studio.  He led design for several Google Products, including Gmail, Google Buzz, Google Apps for Business, Google Spreadsheets, OpenSocial and Google Trends.  Below is a video of how he welcomes failure and empathy as part of the design process which informs and validates designs that work.