Should designers listen to opinion? Yes. Maybe?
It is hard to tell the difference between fact and opinion. In many modern minds, their opinion is fact. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe we would all lose our minds if we couldn’t at least believe the things in our minds. Whether it is biological defense, or stubbornness, opinions aren’t going anywhere and are stuck managing them as though the opinion giver believes it as fact.
Designers are generally looking for solutions to problems, or sometimes the problems themselves. At some point though, they must make a decision, express it into the opinion filter of other’s minds. Most solutions can be stolen freely and others must be hunted down, and sifted out of the opinion muck. Figuring out the perceived fact nestled within an opinion is key to finding solutions.
Here are a few examples of common characters and very briefly, how their opinions work.
Grandma. She won’t change. So that opinion is clear and rooted in experience. She may not easily take up that new gadget, but when she uses the world around her, it will be absolutely on her terms. There is little reason to fight it.
Developers (coders) know function, system, and restriction. If a designer can drop the ego, and open ears, developers have ideas. Sometimes not. Grain of salt. Their ideas are usually efficiency focused, and can get you 75% of the way.
The shareholder. They want their payoff now. No way around that one. Does it matter that all markets eventually fall, and rise? Nope. This quarter is god. I haven’t figured out a great way to work around this one… except, through gentle subversion. Agree to the terrible short term idea, and build little things into the process to reframe the future. Little fractures on the corporate wall.
And last, yourself. The opinion of a designer is useless, until a decision must be made. And decisions must be made every single moment. Make sure that opinion is set in stone at every decision point, but flexible any other time.
And no, if you read this far, I do not have a point to this. Cheers.