I was very grateful to be able to watch the other amazing talks, and wholeheartedly pay attention to all of those after me. 🙂 This video is a roundup of my thoughts and theirs.
I was invited to speak across the pond in the UK at Full Frontal, ffconf 2015. It was very exciting for me because it was not only an honor to be speaking along side such amazing presenters as Sara Soueidan, Paul Lewis and many others, but also because I was able to talk about something dear to my heart. Natural languages, their parallels with programming languages as well as my web audio side project were all able to take center stage. I was very grateful to be able to watch the other amazing talks, and wholeheartedly pay attention to all of those after me. 🙂 This video is a roundup of my thoughts and theirs.
I recently read a LinkedIn post by Dan Robinson on the negative effects of social media and sharing designs and it has caused me to wonder if designers can learn more from developers than the value of coding as a skill. Maybe us designers can learn a little something about what it means to have a strong community to draw inspiration from. In his post, Robinson explores issues of self esteem and what inspiration, if any, designers can and should take from others. He highlights a common concern that we may be ‘comparing ourselves to death’ not only as individual human beings with social media and how we compare to others, but also as UX and visual designers because of constant exposure to what others are doing. Harold Bloom was an early analyst of the role of influence and peers on creativity, including his 1973 work called ‘The Anxiety of Influence’, and how the issues of feeling confident in designs will always plague designers, who often are self reflexive in their outlook to begin with.
Being a designer isn’t just about finding solutions – it’s about critiquing a state to improve it for the future, and as a result, criticism is often the default for many of us. Social media, and communities of practice, have value in learning the craft of design, and designer communities like Behance andDribbble help as a place to explore and share concepts and drafts. But, there is a downside to all of this sharing – Dribbble’s concept of a ‘shot’ often leads to designs which only look beautiful in a small, 400×300 pixels canvas. Good designers can become wracked with self consciousness if their design doesn’t look anywhere near as perfect as a final product on Dribbble. Ironically enough, the less glamorous design could be the right solution for a client and their customers even if it doesn’t win any design awards for Best Use of Flat Design on Buttons, or get voted up as noteworthy. When we do see the perfect final version, we don’t get a feel for all the struggles which occurred behind the scenes. We don’t see the designs which were thrown out, and more disturbingly, few requirements or constraints (business or technical) are stated in a case study that accompanies that final image. Often there’s no case study at all – just an image, and people may see these final designs as solutions worth emulating. When designing more complex, enterprise transactional applications, is a simple, elegant, stylized shot found on Dribbble really the best source of inspiration? Should redesigns that focus on polish and the continual sharing of final products really be leading designers to late night bouts of existential anxiety?
How do other creative professions in technology – particularly, developers – deal with anxiety from creativity and comparing their work to others? What can designers learn from developers on how to feel confident with the sharing of their work? From the outside, developer communities appear to be less anxious and ultimately better prepared for the changes of being a professional knowledge worker due to a number of key practices about creativity which have developed as accepted standards. It’s not that designers and other professions don’t have the equivalent practices, but there may be a focus more on processes and practices in the building, and comfort in the ‘draft’ state rather than a focus on a final, finished, polished product. Some of the best developer practices when it comes to creativity include (in no particular order):
No matter what the medium, creative people will always be strivers, dreamers, the people who crave more, who ask why – and often why not. No matter what the medium (paper and pen, keyboard, paintbrush, or whatever comes next in the future) striving is one of the passions which drives us to improve our craft and seek out new ways to design or develop the products and services that change lives. The trick for creativity is to remember it’s not a race to compete with the Jones’s and the Dribbbles – it’s to start embracing your inner creative spirit and hacking for the sake of hacking.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.