Design · User Experience Design

What drives designers crazy?

Porfirio Partida Developer at Nearsoft

February 20th, 2015

I’m a developer and interested in working more closely with designers.  I’d love to hear from designers on attitudes from engineers, biz and product AND customers that drives them crazy or just makes them feel misunderstood.

Tom Flaherty VP Product Management, InSequent, Inc.

February 24th, 2015

The Marketing department!

Stefanie Kraus Senior Product Designer at HotelTonight

February 20th, 2015

Thank you for asking, this is a great question. I have found that the biggest source of conflict at work is when one person feels that the other one doesn't respect them, even if it's completely unintentional. Certain words or phrases are being used, and a button gets triggered.

A while ago, I wrote a short blog post about the words and phrases that trigger my buttons. This may or may not be true for other designers, but here it is: 

As long as you show mutual respect for each other, and your feedback comes from a shared passion for the product, designers will love to work with you and probably won't mind a healthy debate ;-)

Lee-Sean Huang Cofounder/Creative Director at Foossa. I'm a service/venture designer, storyteller, educator, and community-builder.

February 20th, 2015

1. It's not about you. You are entitled to your personal likes/dislikes, but ultimately, feedback to your designer for his/her work should center around how well their designs solve the problems and hand and how they address the needs of your users. In the end, that's what matters, your own personal opinions/tastes less so.

2. Process is important. I echo Scott on the "respect the process point." Good design requires having a well-defined problem statement or well-written creative brief. Good design also requires research, so don't skimp on this! Good design also requires time and sometimes many iterations. Be patient, and realize that it usually sucks at the beginning, that's the point of iteration.

3. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Designers should be your co-pilots/partners in solving problems, not just service providers who address your aesthetic whims. A good designer's work is to make things work, not just to make things pretty. Bad clients/collaborators treat designers like Photoshop or wireframe monkeys rather than team members with something more to contribute. Respect our expertise, and things should be fine. 

Steven Schkolne Computer Scientist on a Mission

March 13th, 2015

Yeah I would say - echoing the group here - that confusing design with art makes designers crazy.

When nondesigners see a great design, what strikes them is that it's really pretty. They think, the designer must have just, you know - tried to make it pretty. Gone into some art place, and just drawn it out in one minute. It looks so simple! Surely it took a minute to make.

Every good designer knows that the results was achieved by problem solving, looking at constraints, using your eyes sure but it's really about iteration, testing, culture, history, signification, hierarchy, where the eye travels etc. IT IS NOT ART. it is design;).

So, when some nondesigner doesn't like a design it turns into a pissing match over whose art is better. (whose subjective impression trumps the others -- some discussion over subjectivity, avoiding the constraints and functional matters). And the designer is sitting there saying "tell me the problem, etc. i am not a baby., this is not my subjectivity, i'm trying to solve this problem, and yes of course use my intuiton and experience make it pretty because that makes it functional. but we can't move forward with this junior-level conversation about whims and impulses"

every designer is different, but in general - don't treat us like artists. don't insult our work by calling it art. don't insult art by calling our work art (because, we all know that art is more personal and subjective and a different beast entirely). realize we work outside of our own tastes. try to get outside of your own tastes with us, and solve this thing without ego.

ok, rant over ;)

Nicholas Meyler Recruiter/Broker for "Disruptive"‚Äč Talent. Questing for the Next $Trillion Unicorn.

June 1st, 2015

I'm inclined to believe that they start out crazy to begin with, but I know for certain that some of them get quite upset with unsolicited emails about job opportunities, even if the positions are extremely good fits... but they can still complain "but the Headhunter doesn't understand me," etc.

I think that my experience has been that software engineers love to tell me how to do my job (which they know next-to-nothing about) so that leads me to believe that they are probably most driven crazy by people telling them how to do their jobs (which they know next-to-nothing about).  "Passing it along", as it were.

Ariel Jatib Product Designer, UX

February 22nd, 2015

"It depends" - har-har. That's a little designer humor. 

Throw some code on a screen and most members of a multi-disciplinary team will just nod. Now, put some images/screens up there and everyone perks up and has an opinion. This is very common situation and one that as a designer you learn to understand, and hopefully manage. Like design itself, it's a process. 

The goal is boundaries, or better yet becoming the trusted resource. At the most basic level, it's largely about respecting boundaries. Working to establish and adhere to those boundaries is key; it's also an ongoing activity. Practices, like retrospectives, can be helpful in this context. Continually disrespecting boundaries is a good way to get anyone on a team grumpy. 

Scott Jenson Product Strategy at Google

February 20th, 2015

Imagine a meeting with a designer where they questioned your code and started giving you advice on data structures and better testing methods. How would you feel? That's a little how designers feel when they meet with programmers or managers that question how they work. I can't tell you how many times a manager or programmer has asked me "for a good book on design". Now, to be fair, that is very well intentioned but I usually look at them and ask "you know, I've wanted to know more about programming myself, is there a book you can suggest to me?" If you do it right, with humor, they get the point and smile.

But to turn this into 'my expertise' vs 'your expertise to too simplistic an answer. Great design happens with programmers and designers working together and yes, it's perfectly reasonable for the programmer to question things! The biggest issue in my mind is appreciating how design works. Most programmers think of design as a deliverable. Designers know it is a process. You have to *work* design starting with user research-y kinds of things (if you have time) through sketching and exploratory concepts, to more refined work. It's not a one shot genius moment but a clear process of breaking down a problem and building it back up. If you can each respect each others process, you should be fine.

Christian Crumlish Product at

February 24th, 2015

being told that their job is to "make it pretty"