February 23, 2010
You will get 200.2383% better results out of your designer if you trust that they are going to be 90% right and just take their word on the x% where you disagree. The 200% betterness will wash out the 10% of the time that they are just wrong for a huge net gain.
I think you should raise points where you disagree with them, often they will agree with you and you had just thought about something they hadn’t. But try to hit big things, not little random UI issues. They’re easier to notice, but they lower the conversation to a point where the issue in question might not matter.
Try this, ideally:
hackmaster2000: Hey, you removed all the icons, that seems weird to me because of X, Y and Z. I’ll take your word on this if you want, but I just wanted to bring this to your attention…
they will respond either…..
cryanblark: damn, good point. I’m actually not sure 100% on that, lets talk about this. blah blah blah blah
cryanblark: well, my gut feel is that is right. but its hard to explain, will you just implement as is?
cryanblark: I think that doesn’t actually matter one way or another in the design, would you just implement as is? I’m trying to think about this big issue instead, can we talk about that?
Marco was awesome about this. 75% of the time, Marco was raising design points I hadn’t considered, and most of the time they were design issues I considered significant, not distracting rabbit trails…. even then we didn’t always change things, but we talked it through. When I thought the design issue wasn’t important or just “felt right”, he was ok with that too…. and that was even though Marco was a dramatically better designer than most GNOME hackers.
Every conversation I had with Marco helped me to be the best designer I could be. As a result, he got much better designs out of me (and bryan) than most people. He created a context where design could flourish, and reaped the benefits by getting to build really well designed apps.