What a piece of string under my utility room cupboard told me about design

Ok, strange title. But it grabbed your attention right?

I was making glitter Christmas tree cards with my daughter yesterday and afterwards hung the cards on a clothes line we have in the garage to dry – and this got me thinking this morning about digital design. And how it’s not always possible, or preferable to always meet all a clients requirements.

What has a piece of string under the utility room cupboard got to do with digital design?

Well, quite a bit actually. You see, our kitchen and utility room was redesigned over 2 years ago and one of the many requirements I laid out to our ‘kitchen designer’ was that the string which was attached by hooks under the cupboards in the utility room must be incorporated somehow.

This was important to me because we often hung the kids’ paintings via clothes pegs on this line to dry, and whilst the overall effect looked messy, there was something we found strangely comforting about having these colourful creations drip drying.

Now the designer met many of our requirements however this particular string under the cupboard one was one she skirted over several times. At the time I went along with her calm, “That’s fine, I’m sure you’ll be able to attach some hooks underneath once the room is complete…” And I kind of convinced myself we’d be able to do this too. And, it seemed damned important at the time!

However, over time I’ve gradually realised it wouldn’t quite work for 3 reasons. 1) The new cupboards are much deeper and so the wet pictures would be dragging along the work top and in the sink.

2) The new units aren’t made of wood and I’d be worried about making a mess of the new units if I tried to put hooks in (now something being difficult shouldn’t be a reason on it’s own for not doing something, however this leads on to my third point.)

3) The pictures hanging down would look messy and actually, I quite like our new look, clean and tidy utility room.

So, I’m no longer bothered about the string hanging down under the utility room idea. Instead I traipse the wet paintings through to the garage and they dry there. Not perfect as it’s a bit cold in there and the pictures shrivel up bit however, it’s fine. I can cope !!  And actually I realise it wasn’t that important. And I think our designer knew this would be the case too.

So I’m pleased our kitchen designer ignored my continued nagging about’ the piece of string under the cupboard’ comments. I’m also pleased we ignored the lsat minute idea from our kitchen fitter to fit a wine rack in the corner of the kitchen.

It would have looked really cluttered and spoilt the lovely clean lines of the room. But at the time the idea seemed appealing as the fitter ‘could do it easily, and at no extra cost.’ That brings me on to the subject of last minute, “can we just do this? ” “one final change please” and “just humour me” requests many senior stakeholders (who prior to this time expressed no interest in your work) like to throw in towards the end of a project.

But that’s a post for another day. I have far too much material for that one !



About philty

UX professional working for major financial services player in the UK
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