Problems with Too Many Designers

Too Many Designers

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The reason there are problems with having too many people involved in a web design.

Recently there has been a bit of buzz about the problems associated with having too many people involved in a web design project. SEOmoz provided the following two graphs:

Quality of design over time spent by others modifying the design

Quality of design over number of people involved in the design

Now this might seem a bit harsh... but lets look at what Malcolm Gladwell has to say about this concept in his book, "Blink"

The first impressions of experts are different. By that I don't mean that experts like different things than the rest of us — although that is undeniable. When we become experts in something, our tastes grow more esoteric and complex. What I mean is that it is really only experts who are able to reliably account for their reactions.

...I'm talking about the loss of a much more fundamental ability, namely the ability to know our own mind. Furthermore, in this case we have a much more specific explanation for why introspections mess up our reactions.

...What happens is that we come up with a plausible-sounding reason for why we might like or dislike something, and then we adjust our true preference to be in line with that plausible-sounding reason.

Much of this comes from our inability to accurately articulate why we feel one way or another. When someone who isn't trained in design is forced to dissect a design, they are unable to articulate why they feel a specific way about a design. It is undeniable that they do, in all reality, "feel" something about the design, but whether they are able to tell you why or why not they feel that way is a different story.

If we add more and more people into the mix that are unable to communicate their true feelings things get even worse. In the end the project ends up like this:

Differences in how people see the same idea.

It is up to the designer to decipher what the client "really needs" and provide them with that so that the project will be a success. The designer must not listen to the words, but listen to the meaning behind the words. I try to tell my clients that the end result might not be exactly what "they had in mind" but it should be what "their customers wanted", and chances are if it is what their customers' want, they will like it in the end.

Don't give them what they want, give them what they need.