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A Snack: Losing Autonomy in Web3 w/ Paulo Fonseca

Updated: Nov 3, 2022


Designers can make things easier to implement when they do their job well. Sometimes this is underestimated, but it's imperative in Web3.: The danger of designers losing a sense of ownership in their work is significant because it will lead to a lack of confidence in their skills.





Follow Ivy on Twitter (@ivyquinz3l)

Follow Paulo on Twitter (@paulofonseca__)


Transcript

0:05

Hello, my name is Ivy and you are listening to Designer Dial. Designer Dial is a place where we talk about everything, web and design. 3s I think our tangent topics should be be. I was thinking about the idea of lack of ownership over your work and also how it can be hard as a designer to articulate our instincts. 2s And a lot of times if you can't articulate your instinct or what is good and bad taste, it can be breeding grounds for like arguments. So I guess opening what are some things that causes a desire to feel like they're losing ownership over their work and what are the consequences of that?


0:56

I love this topic 2s mostly because my design education was in a very particular design school where. 4s And I studied industrial design, where most of my teachers, they would sign their pieces. There was a big sense of authorship as a designer in the school that I went to. And so, 1s almost like in the same way that an artist signs a painting, a designer should also sign their bench or share or whatever piece of 1s design that they've created. 4s I became a designer in an environment where there was a very strong sense of authorship of design, 1s which is a bit and also in an environment where it was very artistic and it was an art school and so on. So there was a big sense of authorship and individuality as a designer, and almost to the point that my teachers would, which are kind of famous designers, people could recognize their designs just for the style of their designs, you know, like a piece of furniture that they can say, oh, this is from this guy, and so there's that. 2s I think answering your question, 2s what is the danger of a designer losing a sense of 1s authorship in their work? I think that's also that's actually the biggest danger for designer, which is I think that leads to that designer not having confidence in their skills. And a designer that doesn't have confidence in their skills, I mean, it's basically screwed. 2s I believe that designers in the position that the only thing that they should care about is to regain confidence in their skills. Because 3s when you're designing something, you're basically saying to the world, a world I think this is wrong as it is right now. I think I have a better solution for this. And the solution is as follows. And 1s you're basically 1s pushing change into the world with your design. 2s And when that's the case, a bunch of people are going to oppose that, because change is hard, and people don't really want to change, so on and so forth. 3s As a designer and as any creator, really, you need to have the confidence in your design and in your solution and in your skills to say, no, no, actually, this is the right path. No, no, actually this is the right way. And let me prove it to you in this way and this way. In this way. Right? And so I do think it's a danger of people not 2s losing a sense of ownership in the things that they design is a very big danger because it will lead to lack of confidence in their skills, which will lead to bad designs. And that's not really what I want.


4:11

Yeah, I think it's a slippery slope, man, because this whole web redesign thing becomes really very easily designed by community, and it is fucking frustrating. 2s I think the ways in which I've seen designs slowly get 2s beat down is a need for consensus suddenly in this area of the project, but not in others, 2s a need for control or input, because design feels approachable, even though if you're a designer, you know there's a lot of shit that goes into the skill set. 1s And I think, like you said, 1s there's a couple of different situations where you need to know whether you need to get the fuck out or not. And here are some red flags. Like. If you are actually a great designer and you're really good at articulating your decisions. Why you decided to do one thing versus another. And people only have a little bit of feedback and for more or less just let you do one or two rounds of revisions. Then you might be in a good situation and you might be able to work that out through. Like. Teamwork and things like that. If you find yourself getting pushed or pulled in directions that don't feel right. But if you find yourself in a situation where even amongst evidence and stuff. You get a handful of people like. But this. But this. Or. No. Actually. I think I know more than you. Loki. Or actually it should be this way. Because this. That. And the other. You need to leave because 1s you're going to become an order taker. And that is the fastest way to burn out. And like you said and like you said before, like, 1s You know, not caring about the work anymore, because I've gotten beaten down before where I was like, you know what? Fuck it. Do whatever you want to do. I don't care. I'm an order taker. I care about my check, and that's it until I find something else and then quit. And I've told executives and other people, like, you know, that's the fastest way to lose a good designer is to undermine and feel like you have to have consensus and control over every little design that goes out of the door. 3s The thing that irks me the most about it kind of turns up a little bit is that 1s other skills of work don't receive so much bullshit that we do because of design. Seems approachable. It seems like everybody else can do it. It's kind of like comedy. You think you can get on stage and speak for an hour until you get up there and you shoot your pants.


6:52

By the way, 3s I think we've all been through there. Every designer that has been working for a while has felt what you just described. And 1s I just want to highlight that it is a slippery slope because it leads to you, as a designer, losing confidence in your skills. And that's, for me, it's the biggest danger for any creator, really, not just designers, but for any creator, is when you lose confidence in your skills and you're stuck, 1s it's very hard to get out. 5s I think you're getting to 2s the bottom of the issue, which is it does seem like and I'm not sure if we're designers, we're biased, obviously, we might have 1s a little bit of maybe victim mentality in here about this. But I also do think that design is more targeted than other disciplines in that sense, because it is more approachable, because it is visible, because every human being experiences design in their daily life constantly. And so every human being might have an opinion about the design, right? Not so much about our piece of software is developed or some other aspects of


8:15

technology.


8:17

But I do think that's both the good part of design and the bad part of design, because it is approachable, 2s everybody thinks they can do it, and they can't, and so they make our life hell as designers. But because it is approachable, we have such a big impact on human beings, right? Because the way we design stuff 2s in the extreme scenarios will make or break 1s something in the real world, will make someone feel good about themselves, about what they're trying to accomplish, or make them feel so frustrated about what they're trying to accomplish, right? And so, because it is something that's approachable, it can have such a big impact if we do it right. So it is both a bless and a curse. I will say a way to go down a slippery slope of design by committee is not communicating your design well. And I wanted to touch on design instinct. There has been some situations that, like an engineer or front end engineer rather, or somebody else in the organization will be like, what about this in design? And I can't really pinpoint.


9:34

I say my gut says, no, this isn't a good design solution, but I can't always articulate no. And sometimes it's hard for me to and sometimes I would just grab a reason out of my ask, but it's really because I'm like, I just know this isn't good design because of my lived experience, and it's hard for me to to tell you why this is the bad idea sometimes. Yeah. 3s I call that designers need to admit that they have intuition, because 2s if you think about it from the point of view of 3s if designers were an AI, we would be training our mind as designers on what is good design for years now, right? Like, we have been exposing ourselves to good design, 1s trying to interact with good design, developing a good taste about what good design is for decades now. And we, as designers, we have that intuition. 2s And when someone says, oh, what about this other solution? And we know in our intuition, in our gut that that's not the right solution, we are probably very right because we have just more data that builds our intuition. You know, we have more exposure to good design, we have more experience about doing good design. And so we need to reckon with the fact that we are usually designers are intuition driven and that intuition is not something that's bad. That's actually something that has been developed over decades usually. And we need to honor it. We really need to honor it. And sometimes we don't have the 2s skill to articulate our intuition because it's very hard to be able to reverse engineer. Why in my gut I feel the right design is X. But what are the arguments that come up with a reason that is convincing enough for most people to prove that the right thing is Xray?


11:47

Those are two different skills. But we are not wrong. The designer that has the intuition most times is not wrong. Especially

11:56

they're good at their job, especially because they are good.


12:00

Especially if they have a lot of exposure to good design. Because intuitions are just built from exposure, right? I mean, 1s if you just woke up for design yesterday and now you're trying to get a say on what is good design, I mean, I'm sorry, I'm not going to trust you because you just have one day of exposure to good design. So your intuition about what is good design is not as good as mine. Which I mean, I've been trying to have a decade, maybe 20 years of good exposure to the pool with this good design, right? And so I do want to say that. 1s When designers are in this situation where they know in their gut the right solution is X, but they are faced with arguments that maybe the right solution is another one, but they cannot articulate why. 2s They should find a way to 2s reverse reverse engineer their intuition to try to understand why their intuition is telling them that the right solution is X and not doubt themselves. Because if you have been developing your good taste as a designer for decades, you are probably very correct in thinking that the right solution is X. You just need a way to articulate it. You just don't know how to articulate it. But please don't doubt yourself because you're probably correct and developing that muscle of articulating. Why X is a good design. I mean, that takes so long. And I believe it's actually done in good design reviews with other designers. And that's kind of the gym for the design muscle of articulating design sessions. And I advise designers to get into more design reviews to try

13:45

to and that's why it's hard being the only designer. I think that's what our next episode is going to be about. It's like the only designer, how hard that is for various reasons. Designers, if you're listening, you could take my goto still these. One of my go to is like, I have not seen this pattern in other applications and apps. Is one of my go to. Like, this is a weird pattern paradigm that we're creating. So I throw other apps under the bus. I'm like, where have you ever seen this doesn't exist? 4s And my second one is like, I understand that your solution technically satisfies the problem, but it feels unsophisticated. That's my go to.

14:30

Slight defense in there.


14:35

I feel like that's the only word I can add it to. I can find articulate. Exactly what I'm saying is unsophisticated. It's like,


14:42

yeah, well, 1s sometimes I've been ultra mind one. I'll show mine. But the one that I just remembered, which I've used a couple of times, which is 1s especially if it comes from engineers, from front end developers or whatever, I asked them, are you proposing that because that's easier to develop,


15:04

you throw back at them? That's good.


15:10

I'm also lazy. I'm not criticizing Laziness. I think Laziness is useful, but usually they are just being a bit lazy and like, oh, no, the design that you're presenting is a lot of work. I've come up with an easier way for myself as a developer to do that. So I'm going to propose that as a solution. And so I just kind of expose them in that way of like, oh, are you just proposing that because it's easier on your job? 1s Also, developers

15:35

just talk to us. Okay? Don't be trying to implement craziness to save work and to save, like, whatever. Come back to me and be like, hey, man, this is a little hard to implement. Do you mind, like, making this easier? I can work with you. I got you. I could figure it out. That's my job as a designer. Don't go rogue trying to make something easier to implement. Just come back to the designer and let me know the technical limitations, and I will design a solution that both meets users needs and the technical limitations that you're facing. When a designer does that,

16:10

they usually come up with something that's ten times easier to implement. Not just two times easier. It's, like, ten times easier. So it's very much a good investment to do that. And that's also a bit of designers fault. There's a bunch of diva queen designers. That's true. Don't listen to engineers. Just tell them, no, I'm designed. Do it exactly as it is. Engineers are also weird,


16:36

a


16:36

bit scared about that. So it's also our

16:38

fault. I tell my engineers, hey, I am your local neighborhood designer. 1s You're scared of me. I'm good. I hear you. I feel you. And I think that might be, like I said, another episode on how to develop a relationship with engineers, especially in Web three, it is super important that you are tight with your especially