Design for Design’s Sake

wiredI have been reading an article in this month’s UK Wired magazine on ’41 Lessons from Uber’. One of the lessons is to “Keep it Simple”. Uber has only rolled out one major design change to its app. The lesson is:

“Don’t change your product unless you have to. Make it faster, better and more robust but don’t do design for design’s sake.”

I have seen many projects substantially re-design everything before the app is even released. This is usually relatively costly as it often involves iOS, Android and the server. It also causes the app to be late to market. So what causes a substantial change of design? I find it’s usually one or more of the following…

  • A new project UI designer, project manager or other staff trying to make their mark on the project
  • A sudden (arbitrary) change in company branding
  • A new UI paradigm provided by Apple or Google
  • A late realisation that the app doesn’t look right due to key people only becoming interested late on in the project lifecycle – this can happen even on Agile projects.

Pre-empting these scenarios might allow you to pre-empt unnecessary re-design. If you need to re-design prior to release, consider waiting for feedback from real users as you will most likely have to re-design at that point anyway.