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Why designers fail (and what to do about it)

Why designers fail (and what to do about it)

Posting in Design

Innovation expert and Microsoft veteran Scott Berkun discusses why designers fail.

At the "From Business to Buttons" conference, innovation expert and Microsoft veteran Scott Berkun discusses why designers fail.

According to Berkun, it's as much business process as it is the design process itself that leads to failure.

Berkun says:

  • All designers fail 95 percent of the time
  • Designers fail because they set the wrong goals and fail to meet them
  • Designers can avoid failure by owning up to mistakes, reviewing past failures and learning how to mitigate it

According to Berkun, designers need post-op analysis just like doctors, forensic investigators, the military, manufacturers and software developers do.

"Studying the perfect cases doesn't inform as much as the fail cases do," Berkun says.

Here's the video:

Interested in more? Read Berkun's survey of designers and related folks on the topic, which offers several self-reported reasons for failure.

Here are the top 10:

  1. People in non-design roles making design decisions
  2. Managers making design decisions w/o design training
  3. Designers don't seek enough data before designing
  4. No time is provided for long term thinking
  5. Not receptive to critical feedback
  6. Lack of awareness of the business fundamentals
  7. Only lip-service is paid to "User centered design"
  8. It’s never made safe to fail or experiment
  9. Designer's power diluted by too many cooks
  10. Over-reliance on one kind of design style

[via Smashing Magazine]

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure