Design by Number$

“The public is more familiar with bad design than good design. It is, in effect, conditioned to prefer bad design, because that is what it lives with. The new becomes threatening, the old reassuring.”-- Paul Rand

To start out, I want to apologize for anyone wounded by friendly-fire - those designers (and i mean real designers) who understand best practices and design with the goal of communicating an idea or message with a sense of aesthetics... and know how to do it.

I recently sat in on a white board session with a group 8 to 10 UX designers and programmers who work for a major financial company. The purpose of the discussion was how best to design a change of address form. And they had been working on this change of address form for three weeks. All of them. All of the time. Seriously. They were so bound up by open and closed cart sorting and user testing, they had forgotten that good, effective design cannot be accomplished by soulless number crunching.

Not only has become acceptable to produce designs that wouldn’t have made it past the first iteration of a decent UX Designer, it’s actually expected because of some some usability guru who seems to know little about the actual craft of good design. Good design is being marginalized, pushed aside by a wonk wearing a “it must be correct because it's ugly” lapel pin, who should be collecting data and advising, NOT playing designer. No one should be allowed to get away with inferior design because in some alternate reality created by a focus group, we are told that is what people want.