Getting Real: Ignore details early on 13 Apr 2005
35 comments Latest by Everett Lindsay
In my last Getting Real post I suggested you Pick Two. In this post I suggest being less picky.
We’re crazy about the details. We love the details. The space between objects. The perfect type leading. The perfect color. The perfect words. 4 lines of code instead of 7. The perfect flow. 90% vs 89%. 760px vs 750px. $39/month vs. $49/month. Success and satisfaction is in the details.
However, success isn’t the only thing you’ll find in the details. You’ll also find fixation, stagnation, disagreement, meetings, and delays. These poison projects. These are the things that kill morale (and if morale is low, your chance of success is even lower). You want to avoid these at all costs. If you procrastinate, procrastinate the details.
How often have you found yourself stuck on a single design element for a whole day? How often have you realized that the progress you made today wasn’t real progress? This happens when you’re too focused on the details too early on. You’ll have plenty of time to be a perfectionist. Just do it later.
You don’t need to worry about headline type size in week one. You don’t need to nail that perfect shade of green in week two. You don’t need to move that “submit” button 3 pixels to the right in week three. Just get the stuff on the page for now. Then use it. Then eventually adjust it. Then perfect it.
Details will reveal themselves as you use what you’re building. You’ll see what needs more attention. You’ll feel what’s missing. You’ll fill in the cracks when you trip over them. That’s when you need to pay attention to the details.
There’s no magic number or magic time. You don’t start paying attention 35% of the way through. You don’t begin the “detail phase” in week 8. You start when you’ve built enough of the big picture to get a good feel for what the app is going to do and how it’s going to work. You start after you’ve played around a bit. That’s when you know which details need to go where. That’s when you know what needs polish.
Design broadly. Iterate locally. Finalize specifically. Those are the steps to success. That’s how you Get Real.