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How 1 Hour Of Research Saves 10 Hours Of Design Time


 


Image source: Malcolm Elijah Welbourne via Flickr 

We all know basic tenets of user-centered design, and we recognize different research methods -- the prototyping stage, as well as the process of documenting techniques in our rich methodological environment. The question you probably often ask yourself, though, is how does it all work in practice? So in this article, let me share a couple of insights -- understanding the value of practice and speaking from my own experience and research.

 

How will one hour of research save ten hours of my design time?

Design has always been a magical part of my life; as it is till date. And as a freelancer, time management was one of the toughest aspects; after all, when you’re doing what you love, time can fly, and before you know it, you’re over hours. Your client’s budget doesn’t merit all the time you got lost in, so you can’t invoice them, which means you’re losing money.

Jim Rohn, a well-known motivational speaker and author rightly quoted, "Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time". Think about it - If time would have been measured in terms of money, we must have lost more than a trillion dollars of wealth by now. I truly believe, it is essential in any/every aspect of our beautiful life to value and respect our own time.

Time is Life, and if we master our time and use it wisely, we master our life. Let me share one of my experiences which I believe, will answer your question...

I have spent more time on learning new designing tools in the past two years and, Adobe InDesign was one of them. After all the “What ifs?” and “What’s that?!” which eventually put my hands up my head, I realized the need to understand the proper usage of tools, right techniques and tricks for designing before getting into, as it cost me a lot of time. Graphic designs are dream-like; and oh boy it’s not that easy to make our imaginations render in like a real-life wonder without knowing what’s important for building up that wonder. Thereafter I decided to research on related articles, taking online help by asking my queries and going through tutorial videos and as such. And let-me-tell-you #Period, with all the time I spent in research, it helped me build a strong skill set and eventually helped me render my imaginations as it is. You may wonder what force persuaded me to revise my approach to the design process. The answer is simple: my own startup and love towards designing.

So before jumping on to the actual designing stuff, first and foremost: do ensure that you do the right research for designing. The right amount of research for designing expands our horizon of knowledge, giving effective results because we know which tool will give us the expected result and eliminate the time used on inappropriate tools. It is always advisable to take help online, keep updates on the latest development, knowing the supporting software for design, so on and so forth. The assumption factor for designing is curbed after a good amount of research and helps you focus on the development. Better the insights, better would be the end results.

Here are few tips to save your valuable time:

  • Utilize time on learning the basics
  • Understand the functionality and usage for different design formats
  • Practise, practise and practise to build a strong foothold for designing
  • Research, Test & Implement the designs
  • Learn how more experienced designers work

 

Do I have time for every step in the process that I claim to be ideal?

Well, we’re all rushing our designs every day. This is the time to take a breath, see what others are doing and think about what works and what doesn’t work in our real-life approach. We all need to optimize the time as per the available resource and requirements. It will be remarkable how much you will learn. And who says that we can’t? Unless we ourselves think so. Remember, we always need to let go of something, to achieve something great!

Just believe in yourself. And I guarantee you, you will learn a lot more than you already know.

 

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Ajaykrishna Panicker

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