A crummy user experience is rarely caused by a single overarching problem. Major issues are usually discovered and remedied in the design and development phases (but not always).
Most of the time, a crummy user experience is the result of many smaller but still grating issues that cause friction, fatigue, frustration and, eventually, failure. These are the thousand cuts of a bad user experience: broken buttons, confusing labels, outdated content, unhelpful error messages, and so on.
"The details are not the details. They make the design."—Charles Eames
Most organizations, however, are perpetually in Projects and Initiatives mode, not fix-it mode. They're chasing the enticing shiny ball, and ignoring all the broken toys strewn around the play room. They're so focused on What's Next that they're building mountains of tech and product debt.
The recent, enthusiastic embrace of the MVP as a preferred means of releasing products and services isn't helping things: before they've made their minimally viable products more viable, organizations are on to the next initiative, leaving frustrated users in their wake.
My advice? Eat your own dog food; I'm constantly amazed how few people use the stuff they offer others. Do frequent user observation and testing. Listen to your customer support team. Scrutinize your analytics for abandonment points. Keep an eye on social media. Dedicate time and resources to regular housekeeping.
Most of all: have pride in what you do. If you're comfortable with lots of little failures, you probably deserve the inevitable big failure that's surely headed your way.
Most of the design work I've created in the past 20+ years — apps, websites, software — has disappeared. Vanished. Never to be seen again. If I had to guess, I'd say less than 5% is still around.
Design in the digital age is fickle. I'm certain that all or nearly all of my work will be gone just a few years after my last project has launched. I'm okay with that.
I don't mind making things that people use for just a moment. It's design that's meant to be consumed and forgotten. The lasting artifact, if any, is what my work helped them accomplish.
Did my work help someone learn something, or complete a meaningful goal? If so, then those short-lived pixels were put to good use.
I'm not alone, by the way: all digital designers, which is most designers today, create ephemera, work that's so transient it disappears the moment the power goes out or someone forgets to pay the hosting bill.
It's okay. Let the pixels die. But before they die, make sure they lived well.
We'd like to tell you that our redesigned logo is a sign of our renewed commitment to our core brand attributes of innovation, integrity, and service. We'd hope to say that our new logo builds upon our unique heritage, but also allows us to take a bold new step forward into a future that requires greater adaptability and innovation than ever before.
We hope that you'll see that our new logo represents both solidity and movement, steadfastness and adaptability, and sends a clear signal that we're building on our long-established history while opening the next exciting chapter of our brand story.
But the truth is that we just got tired of the old logo the same way you wake up one day and decide it's time to paint the bathroom. Also, our biggest competitor recently refreshed their logo and got a lot of press for it.
Plus, the marketing team was recently criticized for not "moving the needle" enough in Q3.
That's why we recently solicited bids from some of the most prestigious branding and identity agencies in the world. After weeks of thoughtful due diligence, we selected a creative partner we felt would be able to interpret the spirit — the very essence — of who we are as an organization, and manifest that in a brand identity that reflected us in a way that was fresh, unique, and yet somehow familiar.
And in fact our agency partner delivered above and beyond our wildest expectations. Too much so, in fact. The work they developed was just a little too fresh, a little too innovative, and maybe not quite familiar enough.
So after all was said and done, we ended up settling on a logo that was designed by Sue in Accounting. And we're damn proud of it.