As designers, we often get so deep into our work that we lose the ability to see our designs through eyes of the end-users or viewers. So, before considering any design to be “complete,” try letting it sit for a day or two without looking at it.
Get A Fresh Set Of Eyes
Sometimes that one nagging design flaw that you know exists but can’t pin point will scream out to you. Removing yourself will often give you the fresh set of eyes needed to let you see your design more clearly. If you have the time, this is a great exercise to do before showing a design to a client or to end-users in a usability test because it helps you replicate the way someone will view your design for the first time.
Curing Designer’s Block
This is also a good method for removing the dreaded “designer’s block.” Most designers have experienced some form of this. You sketch, you move pixels around but, today, nothing is working. Your ideas and your ability to design just isn’t happening; the only thing that will help is to stop trying. Sometimes we try too hard instead of letting our talents and subconscious do their jobs.
You could equate this to the way you may hear a baseball pitcher is aiming the ball instead of allowing their abilities and mechanics do their job. Similarly, if you’ve ever gone crazy trying remember the name of someone/something, the best way to recall it is to simply stop thinking about it. The same often applies with design. If you’re a designer, chances are you’ve had this happen to you: you’re driving, you’re in the shower or you’re just about to fall asleep when, suddenly, BAM! – the design solution reveals itself to you. That’s because you’ve stopped thinking about it.
Literally, Step A Few Feet Away
Another old art school technique (in addition to my The Blur Tests feature), is to get up from your chair and step back from your monitor or your sketch and evaluate your design from a different vantage point. Often, you will see things like white space (or lack thereof) reveal itself, or colors that appear too dominate over others, or that one element that is supposed to “pop” but is not.
So if you haven’t tried stepping away from your design, give it a try and, if you have, let me know your own personal experience about how it helped you.