Perfect is the enemy of the good

If you have worked on the visual design of a site long enough you have likely encountered the phase of the process where you no longer find the once new and inspired design appealing. The site is no longer “fresh” or “shiny” in your eyes and your motivation for completing it is waining. Further, you may even feel compelled to scratch it and start all over with a new design.

I am not talking about identifying serious design issues that will cause visitors to become confused or cause content to go unnoticed.  I am talking about the polish of the site, the part that adds the emotional “oohs” and “aaahs” that you want the visitor to hopefully experience.

I can’t even count the number of times I have been in this same position, sometimes I feel like it occurs on nearly every project. And the only thing keeping me going is either an impending deadline or the lingering threat of regret over not getting the site launched sooner.

So when is the site good? Or perhaps the question is, when is it good enough? To be honest, I think many designers look down on their own work not too long after it is started.  It’s a natural part of our personalities that strives to always create something better.  I suppose this feeling isn’t universal but is in some ways healthy as it keeps us from becoming complacent in our current knowledge and skills. We want our work to wow someone and if it doesn’t wow us how are we supposed to know it will be amazing in the eyes of others.

It is with this thought process that I present the following guidelines when encountering this feeling of design inadequacy.

Do you have a launch deadline looming?
If the answer is yes, then worrying about polish should be considered but not something that causes you to want to start anything over from scratch. Look at how the current design can be enhanced and keep pushing forward.

Has the site already been redesigned recently?
If so than you may be entering a pattern here that isn’t helping. Do what you can to look at the current design and really examine what you don’t like about certain details.  Resist the urge to start over and instead add polish where maybe it wasn’t considered before.

Does the design just feel stale but you can’t pin point anything that would be site breaking?
Maybe the site just needs a fresh set of eyes.  Ask a friend if they wouldn’t mind reviewing it and letting you know what they think.  They may spot something you didn’t notice that needed work or perhaps they will show such enthusiasm for the design that it will re-inspire you to keep working.

If nothing else, launch the site and keep working on it.  The motivation of a live site that others can see might just be enough to keep you updating it faster and to greater effect than you would if the site was still privately on your own local environment.

 

Have you encountered this feeling before? What did you do to overcome it and complete the site design without losing steam? Leave your thoughts and experiences below. I will add some of the top rated suggestions to the list.