Here is an insightful discussion I am [was] having on Facebook with some friends and industry folk surrounding the emergence of Flat UI Design and a higher discussion regarding setting expectations for users and the cost of changing them.
The Problem with Design and Products
Designers are interested in evolving concepts and it’s a necessity in the fast-moving marketplace today. Designers also prune. This means we have to traverse a bit of a conundrum in advancing design systems and products because although we put our best foot forward, it’s imperative in UI / UX work to progress. Users however, do not like new. Not because it may or may not be better, but because it’s different. Even the simplest designs which are a magical compilation of the Pareto principle and intelligent use of style have a ‘cost’ of acclimation. Users have to learn to utilize products and get familiar with those movement. This means a modification throws them off and even if it’s less clicks or faster userflow this can mean MORE mental duress.
The solution is a 2-part one. 1: Clients must truly trust and align with the designer’s vision. There is a period of loss before new growth in many design modifications. Think of it like pruning a plant for thicker growth and better health for the next season. 2: The process of ethnographic design is imperative. The days of designing in a bubble and putting it out for the world to see are all but gone. If this is how you operate it’s dangerous. Budgets don’t always allow in my experience and that is really at a detriment because even the best designers are purely guessing at what your customer wants using their experiences without it. That’s still better than nothing as this is what we get paid to understand, but working with actual customers / users early can be key to success. Today’s online marketplace has made your customers’ aggregate voices powerful and snap responses and unfaithful decision makers can react quickly to adjust which can hurt a brand’s positioning.
Read more about this concept in the Facebook discussion below: