Press "Enter" to skip to content

Comparison as a Design Process

“I like it.”

I’ve learned to hate those three words. It happens when you show someone something you made, and it’s good.

They can’t quite articulate what they like about it, and they can’t quite say what they don’t like about it.

You’re now stuck without direction with work that isn’t your best.

I realized that I do this to myself when I’m looking at my own work. No, I don’t say “I like it” out loud, rather I stare at something for a while feeling like I don’t know where to go with it.

Here’s how you can get “unstuck.”

Compare with an alternative

The fix is to present yourself, or the person you’re showing your work to, with an alternative.

Showing someone two different versions and asking them, “which one do you like more and why” solves the problem. Given some context, they can point out which one is better, and clearly articulate why based on the shortcomings of the other. It’s always more productive to present more than one design.

I use this by myself when designing themes too.

Let’s say I’m designing the layout for a blog post. I’ll fool around until I get to something that makes me think, “I like it”. This means it’s okay, but I know I can do better.

Then I’ll create a copy and start switching things up. With the old version on hand, I have some more context and don’t feel like I’m going around in circles endlessly redesigning components.

In short, I’m split testing my designs against my own taste. It’s helped me get unstuck and it yields me better feedback from others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *