As a designer, I consider myself pretty laid back. I’m willing to roll with whatever punches are thrown at me. However, there are a handful of things that just plain bug me. Here are my top five, presented in a helpful list format for your education.
1. “Make It Pop!”
You have no idea how many times I’ve been on a project and I’ve been asked to “make it pop.” It’s an ambiguous term. There’s nothing descriptive about it, unfortunately. It’s a word that people may have heard and they’ve found a way to work into their vocabulary, but it means nothing to me. I rarely ask for an explanation for it, because I know what they mean. Saying “make it pop” is typically another way of saying “make it look fantastic.” Luckily, that was our plan in the first place!
2. Your Graphic Designer Friend
Sometimes, I’ve tried to deliver a finished project, but I learn that the recipient is dead set on receiving a JPG and will not accept my PNG no matter what, even though it would serve the project better. They ask for things without knowing why they’re asking for them, often because someone else, usually a friend, told them that something else was “the best.” I can’t recall how often I’ve heard sentences that begin with “Well, my buddy the graphic designer told me…” My only response can be “I don’t know how to explain this to you, but your buddy, the graphic designer, is wrong on this one.” Maybe he’s a great print designer, but that’s not what we’re doing here. We’re designing mobile apps. The rules ares different and trust us, we know what files to use.
3. Wood, Steel and Leather
Most of the work I’ve been seeing from the world of app design recently has been really solid. Thankfully, I feel like the designer community has moved past using wood, stainless steel and leather textures for every single project on the planet. Still, they occasionally rear their ugly heads. Those textures are extremely common in design and everyone is guilty of using them too much. They’re a cliche now. Recently, I’ve seen more people reverting to a cleaner look with less devotion to heavy texturing. This is a good thing…I appreciate minimalist work, myself. Any texture is fine if it’s used appropriately and makes sense in the context, then that’s great. The designer did his job. Sometimes (SOMETIMES!), you need a wood texture, sometimes it needs to be steel…but not always!
4. Bad Layouts
Awhile back, I downloaded an app for the gym and (if you’ll allow me to cut to the chase right away) the UI was just terrible! This isn’t even about artwork as much as it is about the basic nuts and bolts of app design! I wanted to save my results in the app, but I had to actively hunt for the save button. I eventually found it in the tab bar. Any app designer worth his salt knows that save buttons don’t go in tab bars! A tab bar is meant to take you to different sections of an app. “Save” is not a section of an app. It is an action. Apple has dictated that “Save” and “Done” button have to go up in the Nav bar. We all get used to this layout and that’s the point: you have an inherent understanding of basic app layouts and never have to hunt for anything!
One of my biggest misconceptions about the design field is simple: people don’t understand how hard and how long we work! Our job takes time if you want to see satisfying results. You want to know the truth? We can get things done really quickly! Just not very well. Not very well at all. We need time to consider every aspect of the app, to discover the appropriate voice, the appropriate style. It takes time. If you need your app yesterday, you probably should have contacted us months ago. Good thing for both of us, that’s why we have rush fees!