Weeknote 19/46

A few weeks ago I wrote about unlearning. This week, it became apparent again, how difficult that is.

Before I joined the Beryl team, the project was internally pitched to stakeholders, in order to get a green light.

Words and images were used that illustrated the basic idea very well for those decision makers.

For quite a while there were only these presentations. And it seems to me that with time, these words and images were not only interpreted differently by everybody within the team. They also  perpetuated concepts that now are hard to overcome.

“Cards” and “layers” were some of those words. And while they were used to describe abstract concepts, for an UX designer these words translate to something very concrete.

And while the actual UI patterns of “cards” and “layers” are probably not a bad idea in this context, I sometimes wonder what other approaches we might would have come up with, if the words and metaphors used in those first presentations were different. Or if no designer had seen these presentations at all.

The power of language is often underestimated in a visual practice like design. But words trigger images and once these images are in our heads, it’s hard to put them aside and make room for other ideas. Even if you are aware of this problem, and no matter how often you tell yourself or are told that “everything is possible”, this first idea, once it has matured, is very hard to overcome.

So choose your words wisely! And then try to forget them when you have to.