You can’t judge a designer by glossy buttons

A common meme in tech circles has been the death of the resume. It goes: judge developers by their Github account, and designers by a Dribbble portfolio.

The latter begs the question, what does design mean to people?

To me, product designers solve problems. They solve problems concerning motivation, usability, desirability and alignment with business goals. I love a beautiful interface, but I have no patience for slick visual design if it is not paired with strategic thought and customer validation.

So the notion of Dribbble as the best place to find great designers bugs me. It implies to young designers that they will be judged more on the gloss of their buttons than on the effectiveness of their work. It stresses photoshop over problem-solving and customer interactions. It pushes context, which is everything in product design, to the side as irrelevant.  And it fails to accomodate the good trend that designers are increasingly technical.

So I ask, what does design mean to you? Is design strategic without your company, or relegated to “pretty”?

2 Comments You can’t judge a designer by glossy buttons

  1. Jason Dziak October 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    It’s amazing when you think about it but I believe most client work is done without clear goals or metrics. The result is a completely subjective design exercise where success is measured by how well you can guess the clients personal taste. In those cases polishing buttons and adding layers of production value become the solution.

    When given clear goals, metrics and desired results based on actual user activity, design becomes an objective process. The quality of the work can’t be captured In a cropped screen shot but only through actually interacting with the fully realized experience.

  2. Alessandra Morcella November 14, 2012 at 7:52 am

    ‘design’ is to guide other’s eyes to ‘go’ whether communication goals need to, simply…
    the most simplicity = the largest designer experience in driving forms and concepts

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