My Design Philosophy

Hi, I’m Dan. I’m an entrepreneurial creative strategist. I like to use awesome design and technology to make cool things, and in turn help businesses grow. But there’s a lot more to it than just making things “pretty.” There’s reasons why I create things the way that I do, my process, and that’s really where the strategy comes in.

I love to learn new things by thinking outside the box and creating cutting edge products that push the limits of what is currently technically possible. I’m always answering the question: “How can I use technology and design to make <something> better?” 

All my designs incorporate a technical understanding to drive execution. More than even my creativity that’s my greatest trait: There’s no challenge I won’t overcome to implement the creative vision.

You can read below about some of the details of my design strategy, my values, and certain aspects I pay special attention to throughout my process, but my entire design philosophy is best summed up in this statement: .

“Design cannot be successful without strategy. Great design involves problem solving and reducing risk. And that is only accomplished through deeply understanding the business goals and executing a well conceived plan.”

I love:

  • High End, Triple A, Immersive Experiences
  • Cryptocurrency and Decentralization
  • The Sharing Economy
  • Accessibility

1. Accessibility

Through working with people who have vision and hearing disabilities, I have experienced first hand how many users in these groups rely on their devices in ways well beyond the average user. Products should take special care to be easy to use for people with vision impairments or who are deaf or hard of hearing. Using an App, it’s likely that the mission is even more critical for these groups of users. By its very nature, the process of designing for these considerations and paying attention to these needs yields products that are optimized and improved for everyone else too.

2. Security

Humans have a right to privacy. The vast majority of users do not understand the full capabilities or potentialities of the technology they use and would have no idea if they were being taken advantage of. So don’t take advantage of them. Anonymize data, decentralize it if possible, and make the user aware that you have their best interests at heart and will not abuse their trust. Encrypt things end-to-end and put in safe guards that would make it difficult for third parties to use data in the event something was compromised. I plan ahead for these types of scenarios and design products with contingencies in mind, from server functions to pixels.

3. Ease of Use

If we can leverage technology on the production side to make something easier for the user, I do it. Even if it’s a lot more work for the dev team, if it improves the product, I make sure to push for that improvement to be made. We’re entering an era where users are beginning to expect products to work completely autonomously, even initiating automatic requests via AI. If we have the opportunity to take actions that can be automated so as to take work load off the user and handle things for them, then simply, we should. Refining complex tasks into simple, enjoyable, empowering experiences is what I’m best at.

4. Customer is always right

I’ve been part of the audience for sales trainings and hospitality seminars where scenarios were discussed to present the idea that customers are NOT always right. That may be true for specific circumstances in different businesses but in product design we have to do everything we can to serve the customer. If we don’t serve them properly, another product will. So long as it fits the business goals, every detail of a design should be based on the what is best for the user. Businesses don’t exist without customers and if we’re building products for customers, then we better keep them happy. Competition is as fierce as ever. Don’t ever give users the slightest reason to not want to stick around and enjoy your product.

5. Data Validates Feelings

Businesses are always data driven, but the best products are not built solely on data. I use data and analytics to reinforce hypotheses drawn from valid research. Once a designer understands the business goals and the requirements for a product, that designer should create something to fulfill those requirements, then gather additional data as a basis for iterating on the design. Great consumer products cannot be distilled down to their core solely based on data analysis. If that happens, it removes all the personality and identity from a product resulting in a boring experience. Most users don’t know what they want until they see something new that solves their problem. But data always reinforces great design.

6. Form should compliment function and vice versa

I’ve seen a lot of Apps that looked great but were barely functional. I’ve seen a lot of Apps that were very useful but looked terrible. If you want to put out a world class, triple A product, it needs to have both. This is the essence of great user experience and ultimately a great product.