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Jackson Bates

Some Thoughts on Design

In order to create better websites and web apps I intend to really put some time into improving my design skills and knowledge this year.

To that end, I am reading CSS: The Definitive Guide: Visual Presentation for the Web, which is excellent so far, and working through Hack Design.

The reading for Hack Design's first lesson pointed me to one tip that really stood out and has started to affect me quite profoundly already.

One of the reading list articles for the lesson, 'Making the transition from developer to designer', offers the tip:

Design everything you do.

This advice comes with the suggestion to view all decisions and actions through the lens of design choices. For example, how you hold yourself in conversation should be 'designed' to add to the message you seek to communicate. Ultimately, all choices should be intentional and purposeful.

This lead me to realise that I have been deferring to my wife's decision making over the last few years. This is problematic partly due to the impact this has on the balance of emotional labour in our relationship, and also because it has no doubt blunted my ability to make intentional decisions, and therefore practice 'designing everything.'

I had been quite dismissive of some of what I had deemed to be superficial aspects of design in the past, including to do with fashion and home decor. As I talked about this more and more with my wife today, though, it began to dawn on me that what I had previously written off as just, for example, fashion, was in fact much more:

Fashion is communication, psychology, and even community.

My initial readings for Hack Design have not only given me a lot to think about in terms of design, but the practice of making intentional decisions about everything I have done today has forced me to be much more mindful, in ways that years of being encouraged to be mindful never seemed to actually achieve.

As a result, rather strangely, I have been in a much better mood than usual today, and have felt tangible improvements in my mental health.

Who knew a simple introduction to design thinking could have such an effect?