Fussing over the (web design) details

Having spent the last couple of months (on and off) messing around with the new Binary Moon design I am now at the stage where I want to say it’s finished and move on to something else.

There’s a well known ‘rule’ called the Pareto Principle that states that “the last 80% of a job takes 20% of the time” (or something similar 🙂 ) and below are some tips I have been using to try and reduce the length of that 80%.

Spend more time planning & designing

I am particularly bad at this. My planning normally amounts to drawing a single page mockup, which invariably ends up not looking like the final product, and even if it does it doesn’t cover the other page layouts.

At work we now use Balsamiq Mockups for wireframing and this is something I will be doing a lot more of for my own work in the future.

Take regular breaks

I am a perfectionist, so constantly pick and tweak different elements of the design. Couple that with my lack of planning and you have an interesting combination. It means I can take a loooong time to finish things. For ‘client’ work this doesn’t affect me so much but when working for myself it’s quite a problem.

If you find yourself going round in circles then take a decent break from what you’re doing – the longer the better. Coming to a project with fresh eyes makes a world of difference and you can often spot problems you wouldn’t have seen for weeks.

Get inspiration online

If you find yourself getting stuck for ideas then look for inspiration elsewhere.

I browse a lot of inspiration sites online and then combine small elements of each to create a Frankensteins monster of a design. Naturally I will restyle things to fit my brand, but the initial sparks come from all over.

Ask for feedback from your peers

Much like taking a break, asking for feedback from other designers will often generate really good comments and open your eyes to problems you likely hadn’t even considered. You have to also remember that things you understand or take for granted may not necessarily be understood by everyone.

Target ‘good enough’ and then improve later

If you are REALLY stuck, then simply tidy things up as best you can and ship it. Sometimes you will just never work out why it’s wrong. Often once launched a new site will bring changes and improvements based on users (and your own) feedback. This is when you can fix the last remaining problems.

In fact now I have written all of this, I think I am going to ask some of my work colleagues for feedback on the latest version of Binary Moon…

Was it good/ useful/ a load of old rubbish? Let me know on Mastodon, or BlueSky (or Twitter X if you must).

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