I admit it, up until this project I equated goal-directed design/user-centered design to designing for the perfect outcome. From paper wireframes to clickable prototypes my focus was on the goal of the user and how to help them achieve those goals as quickly as possible. Designing for an “in a perfect world” scenario.
Rarely is the world “perfect”. I created a beautiful mobile interface for OvationTix clients. Using one of our more sensible clients to design the interface around. When I should have designed for the “less sensible”.
My initial design didn’t work well with clients who don’t run shows year-round, I didn’t account for that, patrons would access their site to find no show available for purchase when they could have a show coming up just not within the timeframe of 90 calendar days. Some had long titles unlike the short-and-sweet titles I had adorned my mockups with. To my dismay the character limit was set to 355. Why would there ever be a title so long? I stand corrected. From long descriptions and labels to small custom tweaks our client services team had done for a cluster of clients quiet a few things just wouldn’t work well with my initial design.
I was attached to my design at this point. So instead of going back into the design and tweaking it. I went back to pen and paper. Form may follow function but content determines form.
Design for chaos, for things to go wrong, for the outliers of your target audience chances are all the “perfect” scenarios will be covered too.