One of the first things a child is taught when they are growing up is a proper daily hygiene routine. This matter is stressed heavily throughout a child’s formative years because these routines are one of the few things that a child will take with them into adulthood. Of course things in the routine will change, and or be altered, but the framework that was built back when one is a child will stay with them for the rest of their life.
This is quite similar to the routine web designers go though while working on a project. As soon as we find a system that brings out the best end result, we usually end up sticking with it. Some designers go as far as to post it up on their portfolio/company sites to showcase to potential clients. Now the relationship I just described between these two routines could be made to almost any system one has for doing something. However, the relationship between the two is much deeper than those few similarities.
Brushing Your Teeth
Image Source: Λουκάς on Flickr.
Its the start of a new day, birds are chirping, the Sun is shining bright through your bedroom window, and the taste of whatever you ate last night is plaguing your breath this morning. The only thing that can cure the only downside to your perfect awakening is for you to brush your teeth to get that fresh breath that represents the new day upon you. Does this sound familiar to you?
Well this should, and not because this is how you started off your day today. However if that does describe your morning, then that’s great for you. Moving on, this sounds familiar because this is the feeling web designers get when starting a new project.
Its a great time because that annoying client you dreaded dealing with is finally gone, at least until they start contacting you wanting free technical support of course, and its time to start on a brand new project. Much like how last night’s dinner was still on your breath, your last design project is still on your head.
The brushing your teeth stage is when you get rid of all the creative space being held hostage by your previous project, and leave them wide open for new thoughts for your next project.
Taking a Shower
Image Source: Λουκάς on Flickr.
This is the time in the day when your usually alone, and you don’t have to worry about the criticism you’ll face from others. Because of that, people have the tendency of letting themselves go and doing whatever it is they would be too embarrassed to do in public. Let’s be honest, doesn’t everyone like to think they sing great in the shower?
Its the creative freedom right there that every designer needs to have when they are just thinking of ideas for their next project. At this stage the designer should have no worries about how practical these ideas are, how your client would feel about them, or if you could actually pull it off. Its all about coming up with ideas here.
This is where one does things like put on lotion, styles their hair, shaves, etc. This is important because here is where we start weaving through all our crazy ideas for the day. Forgoing the crazy and somewhat improbable ideas, and deciding on pursing those that have the most practicality.
At this stage the designer will take all the ideas that they came up with in the shower stage and start throwing away ridiculous ideas, or storing them for future use. With those gone, the designer would sort thorough the ideas that seem they will work, and begin to work on them.
Flossing and Cleaning your Ears
Image Source: kevinpetez on Flickr.
These are two hygiene practices that are constantly being stressed to people by doctors and dentists as being vital to good health. Despite that, for most part people overlook them. Simply describing them as a waste of time that really won’t matter if it is done or not. This feeling more so directed towards flossing than cleaning your ears.
Hm, now what is an essential process a designer should always go through, but many don’t spend nearly as much time as they should on? The first thing that should come to your mind, especially since its been heavily stressed in resent design trends, is user interface. Its a well known as being important in the design of a web site by every person calling themselves a web designer. Despite being known to be important, we all at times tend to forget about it. Instead replacing an aspect of your design that would improve the experience a user would have with a flashy new HTML 5, jQuery, or CSS3 feature. Granted I love the previously stated technologies, but when it is implemented at the cost of the user, I loath it.
Much like how when you constantly forget to floss or clean your ears those body areas get infections, the same is said for a person visiting your site if not giving this stage the full attention it deserves.
When getting dressed people tend to have at least five different clothing combinations from their wardrobe that they want to give a shot, maybe more if you’re a fashionable person. You start putting each outfit together and decided which one to wear based on how well they appeal to you or the person your getting dressed for.
This is where you take the good ideas you got from the grooming stage, after taking into the user experience factors from the flossing/cleaning ears stage, and get to work. Here the designer starts up Photoshop, or whatever graphic design software of their liking, and get into designing. Much like getting dressed, this is where you being to express your creativity into your project and decided in which direction you want to take this project into.
Washing Your Hands
Image Source: midge mckay on Flickr.
This is something one should do regularly throughout the day. It keeps the infections bacteria lying in wake in the air streams, and things you touch from doing any harm to you. It also can keep your hands nice and soft, depending on what hand wash you decided to use.
This relates to the aspect of going back over your design time and time again to make sure that everything is going well in the design. Its like the you taking a break from just focusing on the big picture, and go back over what you have done so far by looking at the minor details. Also, just like when you wash your hands one might decide to rinse off their face, the same practice is applied to the design process. This being that if a designer feels that the project is not going in a good directeion, they can just start over with out having wasted too much time.
Image Source: Michael Joseph Goldst… etc on Flickr.
This is where a designer would get feedback from other designers about how they are coming along with their design. This is important because as designers, we spend a lot of time studying and working on our design and our judgment can become cloudy on our own work. Getting an outside view from a peer can help get you over a design hump, or bring great new ideas to your design.
Washing Your Hair
This is something you only due at the end of the design process, right before you turn your project into your client. This is where you do all the little things that you don’t normally do at other stages of the design process. This is where all the little details like jagged pixels get addressed and corrected.