Design is decisions. How do you make those decisions? There are many competing schools of thought. I’ll break them down and give you my experience with them all.
Going with your gut
As you can see form the past 4 posts, there are many ways of making a decision. However, all of these methods have challenges. If you can test with confidence, then the answer is clear, but how many things can you possibly test? Can you test every single decision? Test every copy edit and icon choice? Obviously not for most people. Focus groups are good for inspiration, but not good for validation. Hallway testing is great for feedback, but limited in scope of what it can accomplish. Consensus meetings are the worst choice to actually design something awesome. So what is left?
My theory is that you shouldn’t design something that your customers say they want. You have to design what YOU think your customers will love. You have to have a vision and go for it. This means you need to trust yourself more than the users. You need to trust yourself more than the naysayers in your office. You need to believe that you have a vision of something spectacular that people will die for. You need to believe that this world can produce something better than garbage.
Some people have a tepid vision. It’s a product that does the same thing as everyone else, but with a twist! A twist is never enough for love. It needs to be a re-invention. It needs to knock people on their ass as they say, “Wow! That was awesome!” Many people mistake their own marketing and PR for reality. Don’t just say it. You have to actually be awesome. Going with your gut is stupid if you have no guts.