Design by Committee: An Interesting Article

June 29th, 2010

Smashing Magazine posted an interesting article today about Design by Committee, and why it must die. There was actually quite a bit of relevant information in the article and something that a lot of companies could use to help make sure projects stay moving on time.

One major challenge that we face with moving projects along is the time it does take for client feedback and then needing to respond to that client feedback. Now, obviously not all clients take the design by committee approach, and by all means I’m not saying that in order to have projects finish on time they shouldn’t be reviewed by multiple people, however some things that are subjective, such as design, might be better off left alone. Our goal is to make sure that the end result of a project is successful, and is makes the client happy. In order to do this, often revisions in design are necessary as they should be. However over-analyzing a design can often lead to pearing down a design and changing the entire scope of the project.

And to reference another article (referenced in the Smashing Magazine article) Michael Arrington of TechCrunch talked about Digg’s problem of constantly listening to user’s opinions and not dictating how their product worked. The iPhone is clearly a vision of a single core team, or maybe even one man, says Arrington. “It happened to be a good dream, and that device now dominates mobile culture. But it’s extremely unlikely Apple would have ever built it if they conducted lots of focus groups and customer outreach first. No keyboard? Please.”

Sometimes designs can be over-analyzed to a point where the creativity and uniqueness that will make an idea work is lost and taken away so that the end result winds up being just another product, website, or service.

Again, I’m not saying to not share opinions and obtain feedback, I’m simply saying to listen to the designers as well and try to understand why things are done the way they are.

I must give credit to Speider Schneider from Smashing Magazine and Micheal Arrington of TechCrunch for writing two very interesting and poignant articles. If you have some time, I highly suggest taking a look at both.

Jon Stroz

Jon Stroz is a marketing guru, mostly in online marketing strategies and brand management. After graduating from Towson University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations, he quickly became an integral part of a technology firm in Baltimore, MD. Since then Jon has honed his marketing skills and focused on online marketing strategies where he is also a Google Adwords Certified Individual.

One Response to “Design by Committee: An Interesting Article”

  1. [...] many people involved in the design process can slow down the app, especially when you begin “Design by Committee“. This phase should take roughly three weeks, but like I said, can be slowed down if timely [...]

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