Have you ever thought for a long time about how to make a difficult decision? If so, you probably know that asking for life advice can sometimes be helpful, but can also be detrimental. Advice can lead you towards a path of love or towards a path of fear. I recently learned that the key is to ask an odd number of people for advice so that you can get a clear picture of what path you should take. When in doubt, ask the client about what you can do to help.
Life advice can guide you to a whole different road. Listening to older, wiser students who have already walked through the path that you want to walk in will always help you learn from other people’s experiences. Learning from the good in order to learn about what worked as well as from the bad, to learn about people’s mistakes and avoid making them again in the future, will help you make wiser decisions along the way.
After reading through David Kirsch’s student experiences in the Practicum in Professional Web Design class, I noticed the essence of design. With a clear, recurring theme on user and client needs, people are at the core of why you do things. With a people first mindset, making sure to take the extra step to lovingly meet the client’s standards and expectations is a clear path to success in design. What I learned from everyone’s advice is that a happy client means a happy life, so if you are able to rely on documented data, testimonials, and interviews, you will have something to fall back on when you start to doubt what was the original purpose and reason behind the design. User needs and client satisfaction is the number one priority when designing. Having a clear ‘the client is always right’ mindset will lead you to a path of success in the long run.
Another piece of advice: some projects can be very challenging to collectively make a design decision, but the joy is tied to perseverance and realizing that putting in more effort will lead to more fun. For me, the more challenging the project is, the more rewarding I find it and the more I cherish the energy placed into it. Students mentioned having conflicts with the client, either because of lack of communication or because of different overall objectives. More than anything, these setbacks can be solved by setting up a nice system that determines what will be done if conflict arises. Approaching conflict with a curious mindset is the best way to get rid of fear. Asking a lot of questions will allow the client to voice their concerns and be able to understand their core needs. Approaching conflict with curiosity will make sure your client leaves feeling connected and heard.
Last bit of feedback on life and design: iterate and keep going. Take the time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t so that you can confidently move forwards with a clear idea of where you want to go and where you want to be. The future is yours to create, and knowing that you have the right tools, and the right people around you who have the best intentions at heart will allow you to master the art of design. Fostering a community of people who spread kindness and joy will always pay dividends and give you a strong sense of purpose. Remember that everything in life is either a win or a learning opportunity, so approach any obstacle with the iterative process in mind and you will be the best designer you can be, guaranteed.