The Distrusted

A Designer who has lost all credibility with the project team, leading to their UI requirements being ignored as they are deemed to be not in the products’ best interest.


Designers should be hired based on their portfolio, rather than their resume. This is to make sure that their designer’s tastes and usability standards match that of the project team, which will help provide the much needed credibility they will need later when presenting their designs. Not to hire based on a portfolio leaves it up to chance that their designs will be accepted, and if they are not, they run the serious risk of becoming The Distrusted designer, whereby all of their design direction is ignored by the project team.

If a designer is fully capable to not only design simple and intuitive user interactions, as well as beautiful and elegant visual designs, they run a very low risk of having their designs rejected by the project team. This is because, for the most part, everyone can recognize when a UI is well done. However, many designers do not have the necessary mix of HCI science and artistic ability to win over a project team full of highly opinionated individuals. As a result, every imperfect design they put before the project team chips away at their credibility until it is gone.

Design, by its nature, is subjective. There is no direct quantitative measure that can determine if a design is good or not, therefore requiring UI designs to be sold, rather than documented and handed off. Not doing so runs the risk of a strong-willed project team simply rejecting the design, and refusing to implement it.


The solution to fixing the Distrusted Designer depends on their competency. If they lack the competency to do the job required of them, they will have to be removed. If they do have the necessary competency, there are two broad (and complementary) techniques that can be used to establish their credibility with the project team:

First, if the rejected designs are the result of the designer documenting what was asked for by the stakeholders (see “The Note Taker”), the solution is to have them submit a design that has no influence from the stakeholders. Even if the design is then rejected by the stakeholders, credibility will be reestablished, with the added effect of the project team being sympathetic to the designer’s plight.

Second, if a single design solution cannot be edited into one that the project team can accept, the designer can produce multiple design solutions to the same problem. This demonstrates to the project team the designer’s diligence and breadth of skill, while creating a more collaborative design review environment as people feel free to reject a design, but support another.

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