GV Library Design

Stories about design and failure

I had the chance to stop by Airbnb and talk about one of my favorite topics: failing at design. The longer I work in design, the more I realize that a good chunk of my design ideas aren’t that good. Sometimes my coworkers can tell me right away when an idea is bad, sometimes I find out in a user study, and sometimes I just need to launch a bad design to find out the truth.

So how do designers deal with failing so often? My trick is to set up frequent feedback (that I can’t get out of) to help me quickly weed out the bad ideas and find the solutions that will actually work. It’s often scary, but all that feedback makes my work better, and gives me confidence that we’re on the right track.