The Design Trap

A Product Builder's nightmare.

In 2021, it’s true, we really like well-designed products. We like well-designed websites, awesome products we can tangibly purchase, just all-around products that look so good we have no choice but to remember them.

It is a valiant effort to strive for this kind of design for your site, your web app, your mobile app, etc, it’s also really important to be careful with the reality of product building.

Perfection can be a blocker.

Specifically, over-perfection, to where you may be using resources internally on operations and ideas that, on paper seem cool, but actually do very little to move forward your concept and the technology/methodology that makes using your product different.

Sure, it should still be a usable interface, and it’s okay to make modest strides to look the part, but at the end of the day, your application doesn’t really need custom illustrations to be successful, it needs to work.

By losing balance on design, you run the risk of…

  • Over-exhausting a team that feels like the product is only moving in the direction of UI and not UX/Customer Experience

  • Over-exhausting budgets on UI elements and experiments that don’t add value to the product

  • Coming up short on external stakeholder expectations because the product may look nice but is unusable.

All of these I’ve seen startups struggle with before, and in more instances, I wish I pushed the idea for Function<>Design harmony and balance rather than trying to compensate with a couple of nice animations for loading screens.

When building a product from scratch, it’s easy to get trapped in some of the ideas on perfection. And let me put it this way, it’s totally okay to start off with a well-designed product and still succeed! But make sure to consider the budgets and resources you have, and in reality, aim to strike a balance. There’s also the issue of having any concreate user experience or interface at all, which can choke a product just as much as good design with poor functionality.

Make sure to set your mark in the middle as a product leader, have coordinated conversations with your team about splitting up focus, and carry on with building the best damn product (or products) the world has ever seen.