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Research & Design Strategy

Tips for making tough design decisions

June 03, 2016

No matter what your title is, a significant part of your job is making decisions and justifying them to others.

We make thousands of decisions every day, many of them with our “fast brain” – you know, the part that takes care of brushing your teeth, navigating you to the coffee maker, and getting you backed out of the driveway. You barely remember doing it every morning. They’re shortcuts, or biases, which help us preserve energy.

But when you’re thinking about bigger, more complex issues, biases can often trip you up. This is especially true if you’re going to have to justify your decision. Research has shown that just knowing you’ll have to justify your decision will impact your decision-making process. When asked to verbalize an idea or opinion, people tend to focus on attributes that are easy to describe and that can change our perceptions, too.

Making design decisions can be an especially difficult process for many businesses and organizations. Often times, there’s no clear-cut data to point the way. Choices can seem subjective. Without a solid foundation, biases can run rampant. Or a passive decision is made by simply not deciding at all.

“Fast brain” decisions or their opposite, analysis paralysis, can do lasting damage to a business.

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