D&T Special Edition #17

Harnessing Rejection Better

Hi there,
Before we get into this week’s Special – did you know we have a product in an open beta? We launched Cassini last week and have been getting some great responses. You can try it for free here!

Now back to our usual programming. This is the seventeenth edition of D&T Special, a more in-depth view of topics that interest the Canvs team. Today’s topic – Rejection, for all its beauty. We hope you enjoy this read.

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✍️ From the Canvs Research & Editorial Desk

Design teams often experience the painful process of watching a stakeholder criticize and reject their hard work. It can feel like a ceremonial initiation, one that you never wanted to go through. Even after investing countless hours into a project, rejection is an inescapable reality when we’re creating multiple variants for every module of every single project, perpetually. It’s a challenging and ongoing process that designers must embrace to deliver constantly better outcomes.

This week the Canvs R&E team has spent some time pondering this concept, let’s dive into some details.

When creating screens, it’s common to have a favorite design variant that elegantly solves problems. Having an affinity for a particular variant demonstrates a well-developed aesthetic and understanding. However, becoming emotionally attached to your work can be unhealthy. While studies show that attachment to one’s overall practice can improve well-being, becoming upset if your preferred variant isn’t used is a sign of unhealthy emotional attachment – Letting go, hence, becomes important, but learning and improving becomes the ultimate takeaway. In a world full of rejections, here’s a simple guide to a better way to process the same.

The process: in 4 steps

1. Redirect

Once your main decision-maker has selected the version they want to use, concentrate your passion and energy on that option. Grow it until you feel proud, and it might even exceed your expectations and become a better solution. This will also help you stay sane and make progress.

2. Focus

Find joy in small things. Refine the micro to bring the macro together. If you can’t find joy, bring it by incorporating particular interactions with discarded variants, introducing motion design, or pulling from older prototypes.

3. Understand

Variants are often rejected due to practical, non-negotiable constraints. Understanding why can show that an elegant solution isn’t always the answer. This can help you decide when to push back on decisions. Remember, you were hired for your expertise, not just your execution skills. It’s okay to choose your battles wisely.

4. Recognise

Now and then, you’ll find yourself in the maze of hierarchical working — wherein the decision taken by a certain individual on the primary stakeholder’s side, cannot be challenged. Respecting their authority can bring you some solace. Unfortunate as it may be, some things will always remain outside the locus of your control. The goal is to employ a combination of these methods. Develop a thicker skin over time, so you’re not thrown off course. Gain enough understanding to know that some solutions do not work for certain business dynamics and the reasoning behind the same. And, channel your unrequited love for dead variants into the ‘chosen’ one.

📚 What we were reading this week

Brian Chesky pulled Airbnb back from the brink by leading through design. But does it really spell the end for the all-powerful product manager? Five industry leaders weigh in.

Design Manager Juli Sombat sheds light on how a need for more cohesion led Spotify’s design systems team to take a cross-platform approach to components.

The GDP or Gross Domestic Product is a beautiful thing. It takes all the human activity in a country and compresses it into just one figure. But there’s one thing that GDP might be missing.

Public launch of the chatbot comes as China’s tech sector aims to cash in on the artificial intelligence gold rush.

The case study looks at what Reddit and why their aggressive strategy of canibalising the web experience, and essentially blocking third party apps, might not work.

“Operation Duck Hunt” targeted Qakbot malware that remotely controls computers and sets them up for other attacks, like ransomware.

Taiwanese microchip manufacturer TSMC blames struggle to build Phoenix plant on skilled labor shortage but workers cite disorganization and safety concerns.

Some highlights from the past month of D&T

And that’s the lot! Thanks for checking out what we had to share with you this week, we shall catch up with you next Wednesday. Incase you aren’t subscribed to the newsletter, you could subscribe here.

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