Design isn't about creating elements in a screen- it's about solving user problems. And anytime there's a design decision for a user, there's sure to be an argument. Here are eleven ideas for winning the design battle.
- Be cool. Stay relaxed and unmoved by criticism. A designer's use of empathy goes a long way to relax a tense situation.
- Don't highlight that the other person is wrong. The other person might not have a clue about design, but a designer needs to express the disagreement subtly. Even if you think they are wrong. Design decisions are not always qualitative, so expressing ideas as opinions can go a long way in building trust.
- Back it up. Bring in research or numbers to back up your claims. Show competitive examples where something worked or failed.
- Give them the floor. Often it doesn't take any effort to win the argument. Let your competitor seal their own fate. Focus on listening and let them hear themselves talk.
- Make them be agreeable. Get them to agree to something. Anything. If you find a common agreeable point it makes it easier to win other ideas.
- Be wrong. Modesty is a great quality. If you made a mistake or misjudged the situation, then say so. Don't be *that* designer that is always right.
- Stay open minded. Sometimes those critical thinkers on the business side are right. Open yourself up to other ways of looking at a design decision.
- Let them own the idea. Sometimes getting the best ideas into the mix is to let them have it. It's not always fun, but ultimately your sound ideas will survive the design process.
- Best practices. If it's a definitive truth in the world of design, then it's going to be hard for an opponent to justify a decision that contradicts this idea.
- Figure out what they want. Identify their real desires and re-frame your argument around their needs. A shift in perspective and a few concessions works wonders.
- Bring the hammer down. Make them reach a boil and make them uncomfortable about sticking their neck out on something they can win. Close the deal.
I have to admit that it's easier to highlight these tactics than actually use them. Experience plays a big role in adoption- there's no substitute for learning from mistakes and putting that into your work flow.