As a developer or web designer, you may be a perfectionist who desires to turn out a perfect project every time. But have you noticed something crucial? Perfection is impossible in design. Yes, you read that correctly! Aren’t designers and developers supposed to strive for perfection? The answer to that is “no.”
Look at your projects and the many instances you’ve taken more time to improve one last element. What was the outcome? There is no outcome because you’re continually trying to perfect the design or one small element. The result is often drawn-out projects that don’t meet deadlines. This is where perfectionism can take you and your clients.
Perfection Causes More Than Delays – It Also Harms Development
Even more than causing delays, perfection can also harm development. Consider the fact that most products we use are not perfect. There’s always some small issue (or sometimes a more significant issue) that could have been fixed before the product’s release.
If everyone aimed to release only perfected products, you wouldn’t be sitting there reading this article on your laptop or mobile device. Likewise, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing on my desktop. Our devices, and other products, are filled with many small imperfections; however, these are minimal in the big picture.
Would you rather wait for perfected devices on which to work? Do you want to wait for the perfect car, dishwasher, smartphone, and more? If you answered yes, it’s time to head to a cave to live like our ancient ancestors. Not one of the products or services we use is perfect. Perfection in this world is not possible.
Wow…that’s a lot to deal with. I understand. However, it’s the reality we designers and developers must understand in order to improve our work. Notice the term I used, “improve,” not “perfect” our work.
So, what are we supposed to aim for as designers and developers?
Aim for Excellence
The answer to that question is to aim for excellence. But doesn’t excellence imply perfection? No! It doesn’t, and here’s why.
Striving for excellence means creating the best product or service possible. Excellence does not mean or imply perfection. The definition of excellence from the Cambridge Dictionary online is “the quality of being excellent.” “Excellent” means “extremely good.”
Do you see the difference between perfect and extremely good? Something perfect must be entirely without flaws, while an extremely good product may have some slight issues yet meets the needs of users and clients.
The product or service that aims to be perfect is impossible to create. The product/service will never be without some flaws. However, if you strive for excellence, your designs, websites, and apps may have slight issues. However, they will be a great fit for your clients and users; they will have a service or product that meets their needs. The whole reason to create a product or service is to meet the needs of clients, customers, and users. Of course, it’s also for the business to make money. But the truth is that a business that offers products and services that fulfil their clients’ and users’ needs will make money. Those companies that strive for perfection will not make much money. They’ll never be able to get their products and services out the door in the first place!
This is why it’s essential to strive for excellence rather than perfection in your work as a designer or developer.
How to Strive for Excellence Over Perfection
So, how can you aim for excellence rather than perfection? By seeking to achieve your projects’ goals and objectives, building basic functions, and ensuring the end product or service meets your clients’ and users’ needs.
Here are some steps to guide your journey from achieving excellence over perfection:
- Divide Tasks into “Details” & “Important”
Project tasks should be divided into “details” & “important.” The important tasks are the ones that help reach your goals and objectives. These tasks might include building the foundation, basic functions, and more.
On the other hand, detailed tasks are those that are detail-oriented. These are the tasks that take the most time. When you’re starting a project, it’s best to save these tasks until the end or during the final phases of the work.
- Work Sequentially
As you begin to divide project tasks into “detailed” and “important,” during the first iteration, deal only with the easiest tasks. These are the fastest tasks to manage and allow you to have a fully finished website ready for launch.
Use the subsequent iterations to make improvements on the first version. Why is this important? Because you’ll have feedback from your client and/or users on what needs to be fixed and/or improved. This process can be followed through several iterations.
The goal here is to get the site to launch and then use feedback to make improvements and fix problems. In addition, you can see if the work is done well or not. If you have a website that no one’s using, that’s a pretty good indication that something needs to be fixed. Using the iterative approach, you’ll know this within a month of launch, rather than putting years of work into the project for nothing!
- Work Effectively & Quickly
Aim to work quickly and effectively. This may seem like a fundamental tip; however, it’s one that can be used on each project. This tip can also make it easier to have a working website faster.
The key is to deliver results by aiming for the simplest solution. You don’t have to be perfect. Remember, strive for excellence, not perfection.
Summing It Up
Designers and developers may strive for perfection; however, the outcome may not be a usable site. Instead, aim for excellence and the simplest solution.
Using a pragmatic approach like the tips we shared can help you develop excellent products and services that may be improved through iterative designs. Your client and users provide feedback on making improvements while the site is up and running.
What could be better? Surely not perfection! Perfection is impossible; however, aiming for excellence as a designer or developer is entirely possible.