How to stop being a know-it-all designer

How to stop being a know-it-all designer

Designer’s take on an influential role when they remove their opinion.

As a designer, while you can offer “best practice” advice, or insights into past or recent user behaviour - you aren’t a fortune teller. The results still lie with what you observe from your users. It’s easy to forget that, and let our ego as designer consume us. Our opinion can dominate others when it’s likely to be just as valid or invalid.

When a group has differing opinions about the direction to take, we can default into this ‘I know best’ mode. When you find yourself in this position, the best thing you can do is drop your opinion and take a step back. The moment you get your ego out of the way, you can objectively see what the options are - and actively help the group get to a decision.

A good designer knows that the truth is always revealed from user testing. They help everyone get to the truth sooner rather than later, rather than dwelling on assumptions.


“Sometimes we have to be the one without opinions and preferences, so we can weigh all the options and find the best way forward for everyone involved.”

- How to Make Sense of Any Mess.


Nothing is valid until it has been tested. “Let’s find out” should be burned in your teammate’s eardrums. This is where designer as facilitator triumphs. A far more impactful role than trying to convince everyone you know what is best.

It takes real leadership to remove your opinion and guide everyone towards testing their assumptions.

Ask yourself: are you doing things that solve your users’ problems as soon as possible?

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