Nature of Web Design: Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Nature of Web Design: Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

If you’re part of the design and development industry, you know that we’re constantly confronted by things we don’t know, things we need to figure out, and things that initially might overwhelm. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in this industry over the past decade it to not be so afraid of what I don’t know. This can be a tough thing to learn, since as humans—we’re naturally afraid of the unknown. The truth is, however, we probably know more than we think we do, and we’re good at finding answers.

Working as a project manager for almost ten years, I constantly asked developers that dreaded question: can you give me an estimate on that task, please? I’d get the groan, the dreaded recoil, the “It could be an hour or a week, I don’t know.” I’m familiar with the emotions that come with being asked to estimate or think about or “make a call” on something you don’t understand. Two things I’ve learned: developer estimates are

I’m familiar with the emotions that come with being asked to estimate or think about or “make a call” on something you don’t understand. Two things I’ve learned: 1) developer estimates are usually right (if you multiply them *1.3), and 2) we’re able to take on, understand, tackle, complete, and succeed at things we know nothing about when we start our day.

Is there a better way to use analytics? Can I create a fresher newsletter template that feels alive today? What if I try to really breakdown schema for my clients and help them all use it effectively? Do I actually know the best way to manage my WordPress media library? Have really I tried to learn about the unknown & get better at anything today? 

While this aspect of the industry might seem scary (okay, it IS scary), we can learn to feel more at ease with it. And we can learn that walking into the place where we don’t know what we’re doing it a manageable (dare we say exciting?) place to live.

Here’s a favorite statement someone made to me about working in this industry. It’s stuck with me for years, so I’d like to share it—framed below. “You must learn to walk into a dark room and turn on the lights.” That’s for all my fellow strategies, web designers, developers, market analysis researchers, and everyone looking into a dark problem wondering where the light is. It’s part of what we do, and we can learn to be even more happy and peaceful doing it.

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