The Design Process: How it can take you higher or how it can cause you to crash

The design process is very important to your overall goal. The process that takes place can determine the success or failure of your business or what the goal of your business is at the time.

As a designer/developer, I’ve chosen to implement ZURB’s progressive design method, which I’ve previously written about. It’s not the method that all website designers used. It may not work for everyone. But it works for me and it’s what I personally feel is the best way to go about it.

I try to include the client in the collaborative process as much as possible. Now there comes a time, on occasion, where a client might try to change the process. And here’s why it’s a bad thing.

The process is designed specifically to help both you and I succeed at meeting your goal. And to override that process is to override your long-term success.

Let’s look at long-term success and what NASA has done. Remember the space shuttle? NASA used space shuttles through the 80s and 90s and into the 2000s. In 2003, a flaw in the design, one which was actually known about two decades before, caused the Columbia disaster. It was also well known that re-entry was the most dangerous time for the space shuttle. Yet NASA used that as the primary method of manned space exploration for years. Now, not only are we back to using rockets, which have proven to be safer over time, but NASA is relying on other companies to come up with better ideas for space exploration.

Imagine where we’d be at if we just went with the improved rocket designs proposed. We wouldn’t have had two major Space Shuttle disasters. We may have already had what SpaceX is working on, reusable rockets.

When looking at design, we have to think long term. And when once side overrides the design process, we end up looking at the short term. The short term is important, too. The process needs to take care of both as best it can.

What’s going to cost you more in the long run? It’s the design where the process was interrupted and disrespected that will cost more in the long run. A good design will cost more in the short-term, but the benefits will far outweigh whatever you saved by cutting costs and cutting out parts of the design process.

Featured image by Steve Jurvetson ( and used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. (