Design by Committee Video: Hilarious but true

On March 13, 2009 at 3:25 pm, in: Design & Experience

A very clever and funny video depicting the oh-so-common design process that involves a lot of people, a.k.a Design by Committee.

Background: Design by Committee usually consists of a designer and a group of people (usually clients) who seemingly do not communicate with each other.  This process is usually accompanied by a flurry of additional features that were never mentioned in the requirements gathering phase, and it goes on throughout the life cycle of the design phase.

This process usually happens because design is subjective; when it comes to design, everyone is a designer.  When this happens, in most cases the web designer ends up being a pixel-pusher doing everything the client tells them to do in order to satisfy the client and make them happy.

It’s not entirely the client’s fault that this happens.  It usually comes down to a misunderstanding of the process where the client is simply trying to help solve the problem instead of letting the designer (who they hired) to do that job.  So instead of saying “I’m not sure if that pink background color will appeal to our male secondary target market”, the client would instead say “Can we try blue or darker background instead of that pink?”

I feel that the appropriate and more productive way to handle communication such as design feedback is by focusing more on the project goals than the specifics.

Designers are problem solvers.   By focusing on the project goals, the client will actually be using the expertise of the designer (that they hired) to solve their problem.  Also this will allow the designer to use his/her intuition and judgment to design as he sees fit.

Think Apple.  Steve Jobs is a one-man dictator when it comes to design, and look at how successful Apple’s product design is!

What experience have you had dealing with Design by Committee?

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