You’ve probably seldom considered the web designer as a technical individual. Anything with the word “designer” slapped to its rump automatically connotes art, free spirit, and creativity. While a great deal of creativity resides within the core of web design, the fundamental root is actually problem solving.
How Now Brown Cow???
Well, when a new client enters the scene, the web designer typically requests a list of competitors and design samples to better understand the client’s chosen aesthetic. These samples are offered in hopes of providing a solution, when the reality is that they cause a conundrum.
What the designer is essentially viewing is a longwinded answer to a geometry question, without being given the question and subsequent steps it took to get the end result.
Someone else’s solution is your problem!
At my New York web design firm, we are certainly guilty of sample hoarding!!! It gives the designer an idea of what the client wants – bottom line. However, these samples are often a “trap!” The client ends up “believing” that their competitor’s site is something they actually want for themselves. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what your biggest competitors are doing and seemingly copy their designs and business tactics. However, the biggest problem is now the client becoming detached from his/her own business goals.
Pull From Real-Life Problem Solvers
You can stare at someone else’s insanely innovative homepage design for days, but it’s not going to help you find your client’s best homepage design. The mind works in funny ways. Get out of your competitor’s head and into an entirely different field.
I’ve discussed the notion of “inspiration” on more than one occasion and I definitely believe that our most compelling work is derived from that which is most unrelated to the concept at hand.
Problem solvers exist in our world at an incredible volume. The scope of problem solving exists in both big and small scales. Whether you consider the solution process of doctors, parents, or some bushman in search of his next meal in Africa, you will begin to consider the process that you need to follow as a web designer:
1- Discover the problem
2- Strategize a plan
3- Enforce the solution
4- Evaluate your success
The above steps are universally used and recognized for problem solving. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with an issue in your personal life or web design, you use/have used this guide as a means of overcoming the problem.
Find real-life problem solving inspiration. You’re more likely to pull something from off-beat sources, as opposed to playing copycat with other website design companies.