Perfect is the enemy of good: fighting perfectionism in UX design

4 min read
Will Fanguy
  •  Jan 16, 2018
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As designers, we’re tasked with crafting experiences for our audiences that are both memorable and seamless. Finding the balance between an experience that makes our users smile and one that reduces friction is a tough line to draw. What matters more: joy or efficiency?

That equity in approach is elusive. What makes it more difficult is that there’s rarely “One Best Way™” to solve a problem or approach an interaction. Points-of-view and business goals change and evolve. Aiming for perfection is a never-ending struggle. So how can you learn to put perfect behind you and settle for a “good enough” solution? Let’s chat about how you can avoid those perfectionist tendencies and put your audience first, all at the same time.

The struggle with perfectionism

The word “perfect” comes from the Latin word for “finished”. Almost by definition, our products can never be perfect because good products are never truly finished. We work on them and make changes and adjustments of all sizes and magnitudes throughout the life of a digital product.

Honestly, the struggle with perfectionism can be majorly debilitating. If you refuse to acknowledge anything other than perfect as acceptable, you could end up spending a great deal of time and resources on details with diminishing returns.

Working in digital product design means moving fast and breaking things (thanks, Facebook). Perfection is the opposite approach. But if you’re looking to craft that ideal experience, and you continue to get more feedback and user research and input from principles, shouldn’t you adjust to accommodate that information?

That’s a slippery slope. Any digital product’s lifecycle is going to be subject to feedback and input. That’s how we learn what our audiences want and need. But there’s a difference between creating version 1.3 and jumping to version 2.0. What’s your interpretation of a minimally viable product? How quickly can you get that in front of your audience? Something is typically a better solution that a perfect nothing. Work on improving that MVP instead of trying and waiting to get the ideal product out the door.

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