Is "Good Enough" the State of Digital Design?

“I was worried that the low quality of the product would tarnish my reputation as an engineer. […] Six months later, teeth clenched and apologies at the ready, we released our website to the public.”

This quote by Eric Ries, of Lean start-up fame, tells a story of today’s view on product development. The story is about getting something out there, in a crude state, and tweaking the experience on real customers once launched. Eric’s philosophy is becoming a standard way of working for companies. Organizations are increasing their velocity. They are releasing “good enough” products to the public.

“I wonder if multi-variant testing every [sic] led to beautiful design. Sure, it may lead to performant, converting, measurable. Beauty? Maybe not.”
Mark Boulton

With the adaption of these new methods and tools like the Lean start-up, Agile and MVTand so on, does this also mean that we are becoming too prone to copy paste what others are doing? Is the need for speed causing a lack of creativity and attention to detail?

What I wonder: How can we increase velocity to get something out there and at the same time create meaningful and beautiful experiences for our customers?

I recommend the following:

Create experience principles
At the onset, based on insights around your brand and your customers, define a set ofexperience principles. These principles should be used at any time in the product development process to assess whether your design matches the principles.

Define quality
Define how your company measures quality, both from quantitative and qualitative perspective. Constantly measure your experience to ensure quality.

Develop a common design language
A consistent experience is at the heart of a quality experience. If you have a common design language, you can also decrease the time spent to design and engineer the experience.

Value utility first, esthetics second
An experience can be beautiful, but if it doesn’t solve a need, it’s just a veneer, without substance. Experiences should always be about utility first and esthetics second.

“That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Steve Jobs

Don’t look at best practices within your own industry
We all have a tendency to use the term “best practice” and to look at the competition to get inspiration. Instead, we could draw inspiration from not only the digital world, but also the physical world and other industries. I believe that at the center of creativity is connecting disparate ideas. If we just take ideas from our own industry, we will have a hard time pushing boundaries.