2015 Year In Review - Adaptability

2016 has been a huge year for me. I learned so much about design and development from being around super intelligent people. I've been working on creating some amazing products that help people achieve their goals, and solving huge problems through design.

I helped a State Representative get re-elected by using my knowledge of design and user-experience to bring attention to his campaign. Creating his website and branding helped me delve into a political space that was completely unknown to me. I struggled at first but then remembered that I needed to keep things simple, sometimes I get ahead of myself and need to take a step back and start over. I realized that I was creating this beautiful campaign but that it wasn't geared towards the target audience, it was geared towards me and my portfolio. I mentally clicked the hold button. Design isn't about appealing to my needs, it's about helping people solve a problem.

Starting over. That's a huge thing to do when you are really invested in a project but after doing this for years I learned to shed my ego and admit I needed to reassess and redo. I took my original idea and ran in a completely different direction to make sure that my old errors wouldn't make a reappearance.

This fits in well with my overall theme for the year, Adaptability. Why does this matter? Great question. As the great Bruce Lee put it “Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.” When I first started designing I always thought that my opinion was right and everyone else was wrong. I was so ignorant. Thankfully experience roughed me into shape and I opened my eyes to the knowledge that everyone brings to the table. From managers to users, they all give a valuable opinion that defines how a problem should be solved. Actively listening to someone could be the key to solving the most complicated problems.

I created the first version of my digital portfolio four years ago (previously I had a physical portfolio YIKES!). It only had a few projects on it and no description for what anything was. I spoke with a few people in the industry and discovered that my portfolio was lacking context, and that people wanted to see what I was working on. So I created version two. This one had more images and I added a short exert to each item to give some indication to what they were. From then until now I kept asking for feedback from users and industry experts and I took notes every time so I could better understand their thought process. What I learned was that I need to describe my process because people wanted to know if I was qualified to perform certain tasks. I discovered all this by being humble and asking other for their opinion.

This is far from the last version of my portfolio, I'll spend even more time asking people for feedback because nothing is ever done. Adaptability is key however to coming as close to perfect as possible.