Well, thanks to Adobe Muse finally deciding to kick the bucket, alongside my Surface Pro deciding to flickergate itself to death, I’ve decided to start posting here on a WordPress blog. How fun!
So it got me thinking. When faced with a difficult task or a conundrum in life, I find it best to make things easy. Why overcomplicate stuff? We already live in an overcomplicated world where we are bombarded to living hell with ads, information, and the stressors of our day-to-day work, why make things difficult?
This question reminded me of a great podcast I’ve been listening to as of recent, called the Getting to Good Enough podcast. You know how there’s probably a really nice mum or aunty within your family (idk, maybe I’m privileged enough to have an awesome mum) who’s always there to give you reassuringly kind advice? Well, this particular podcast is basically like having a couple of nice tea-drinking mums giving you the warm fuzzies about how it’s okay to be a bit of an imperfect person, and instead of focusing on being the best, it’s best to focus on good enough.
In the world of design, it’s often best not to overcomplicate things. Perfectionism is the curse that often pegs down many people creatively, and whilst you could mull on for hours and hours over an intricate piece of design you may work on, does it actually yield you with something good in the end?
In the words of Loomhigh, a buddy of mine who also has a pretty awesome YouTube channel that focuses on small country towns, WA state politics, Google Plus memes and most of all, answering the question as to why eating raw capsicums is good for you, “Do everything you can to avoid brain cracks.”
Last year, I had this experience when it came to designing a steering rack for my Yokomo RC Buggy. I wanted to have a go at designing custom parts in Aluminium for this buggy, and by the third revision of the design, I pretty much had it bang-on, bar a few clearances I needed to adjust. However, in the ever-loving pursuit of perfection I decided to add more and more features to the part. Cut a groove out here, shave a few grams off there. After seven revisions of the steering rack, what I ended up with was a piece that was weak, flimsy and practically ineffective… All because I decided to be a perfectionist.
When it comes to designing, I recommend setting really basic goals and trying to focus on the achievable aspects of the part. Remember that your job is to solve problems, so why make it too complex?
I went back to the drawing board, and now for the eighth revision, I changed the parameters of what I actually wanted this rack to do. Firstly, I wanted to solve the problem which plagues all Yokomo steering racks, which is slop due to metal-to-carbon fiber contact caused by the bushings on the rack. Second, to solve an issue which affects the new YZ4SF2. which is to use a standard bearing size, as opposed to a harder to find flanged bearing, and finally, to provide the ability to more easily center the steering to make adjusting camber and toe easier.
Once I put those features in mind, I took measurements, popped the rack into Inventor, and designed a new variant which had the strength of the third variant, with some of the features of the seventh that I know were useful, as well as designing a brand new set of steering arms to replace the factory ones with stiffer Aluminium variants. Don’t worry, I’ll show you guys after the house move that I am currently going through. Stay tuned for that one.
Now granted, perfectionism does get the better of people sometimes. That’s understandable, and you’re human. You are allowed to make the occasional mistake or slip into a five-hour long gaming session from time to time. But, at the end of the day, you’re in the business to do shit. If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten. I mean, for Pete’s sake I’m writing a lengthy blog-post about perfectionism. Often times we find the root cause of perfectionism is mostly due to hypothesizing about external factors. I.e, worrying too much about what people may think of you.
Apple gets away with stuffing underpowered computers into less-than-well-engineered chassis, purely because they know that they are in the business of telling their customers what they want. They don’t make things overcomplicated. Why bother with going to Intel when they can like, design their own chips? That’s just complicating things. Why deal with IBM’s dodgy practices when they can get more performance per clock on x86 than on PowerPC or Motorola? That just complicates things!
Worrying too much about what other people think of you, in the tech world sense, resonates hard within the early language of Samsung, especially with their ad campaigns about how they were constantly picking on how few features the iPhone had. It was pretty insecure back then, and now Samsung no longer mentions the iPhone in any of its marketing materials. Why make it easy for people to go to an iPhone by overcomplicating things?
The trick to simplification in design is to worry less and focus on what you know that people want. People upgrade steering racks in their buggies because slop sucks, people buy iPhones because they bloody work, and people eat bags full of bananas outside of IGA because they’re bloody good for you. Why make it hard?
Thus begins the new direction for my website. Why waste hours tinkering around in a dead program like Muse when WordPress will do me nicely?