John Cowen

John Cowen

User Experience • Design • Creativity

When No Design is Good Design

Published:

I started working with a client recently to help them start the planning stages for the launch of a new ecommerce business.

My first step was to put together a discovery document to help them in the initial planning stages and ensure all the key areas of consideration have been thought through.

Blank paper

Image Credit Brendan DeBrincat

As anyone in my position would, I wanted to make a good impression. I wanted to provide a document that not only showed the client I can be a valuable asset in helping them develop a strategy for the website (through the relevant and insightful comments and questions in the document) - but that also looked slick, professional and represented my beliefs in user experience and good design.

Once I had the document written up, I set to work laying it out in InDesign. Then I realised - while it would look great to the client when it first lands on their desk it would, from there on, be a major annoyance.

The aim of the document is for the client to read through the questions, discuss with colleagues and to update with their answers. To help them.

If it’s all set in InDesign this obviously isn’t possible. I was reluctant to just send over the Word file because the formatting is a bit, well, plain. But while there isn’t an initial wow factor - it is otherwise perfect. No-one is going to be confused at how they can open and add comments to the document. And it’s easy to share with other colleagues. A simple tool that's perfect for the job.

It’s a great reminder that Design is fundamentally about how things work much more than how they look.

I don’t want to be the designer with a slick presentation, an immediate wow factor and then proceed to continually frustrate and under perform.

You made it to the bottom! Thanks for reading.

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