Perfect Equals Rigid

I think one thing that a lot of people need to realize is that many bloggers don’t blog for others but instead blog for themselves. Dave Winer is one such person who has always stated this time and time again, and I myself have always felt the same way. I don’t think of my blog as a stage act where I’m putting on a show to an audience (and thus need new material daily to keep the show running and me tapping my feet) but instead I think of it as a personal journal that I can record my thoughts and remember them in the future when I forget life lessons I’ve learnt in the past. Today is no less of example of this.

While digging around on the Web last night, trying to discover those who have pointed to my site in the past (which is a great way to find new and interesting people), I came across an article by Elran Oded entitled Good Design Will Set You Free: Moment of Zen that I actually had read a long time ago. Why I was glad I found it again though was because Elran helped to remind me of something very important that I had learnt but forgotten when he said the following.

"The Myth of Perfect Web Design" by D. Keith Robinson was originally written on August 4th, 2003. But it couldn’t be more significant in today’s climate of redesign madness. The rules are all being rewritten before our very eyes, and it is sheer genius for him to have reposted this article the other day in this current context. A testament to the power of truly good writing. Anyway, it seemed to lift me up a little because it appeared to confirm earlier statements regarding overdesign (and trying to be the coolest), prioritizing (choose your battles), and sacrifices (in design). i especially liked the comment made by Nollind Whachell, which in my mind, perfectly characterizes the Myth article. Simply put, "Perfect equals rigid". so true.

When I read what I had written back then I basically gave myself a mental slap to the head. How could I have been so stupid! This was something that I’d learnt in the past but had totally forgotten. What made me think I had forgotten it? Because my Exploring Squarespace site is a great example of this "perfect rigidity". In my mind, I had this "perfect vision" of what it would be, that being a digital magazine that I’d publishing "frequently". The problem though is that producing a magazine is a hell of a lot of work because you need to create all of your content first before you can publish your "issue".

When I looked at what I was doing I laughed at myself. What an idiot I was! In trying to create this "perfect" vision of what I wanted to achieve, instead of sharing this information with others, I instead ended up building a dam that not only blocked the flow of information to those who really wanted it but also built up my stress and frustrations as well, since I was trying to produce something "perfect". When I saw what I was doing, I immediately said the following to myself.

stop trying to be perfect. don’t let things build. let things flow.

And as soon as I said that, I knew exactly what I needed to do. I needed to start unplugging the dam’s I’ve built and start letting things just flow which in turn would help release the pressure that had been building up. Things don’t need to be perfect. They just need to usable. Design isn’t about achieving perfection and holding it there up on a pedestal for all to see for all eternity. Design is about working at something daily to make it better than the day before.

design your relationships.
design your life.
design you.

In closing, I just want to relay two more little things that I learnt from this experience.

small changes daily
make a big difference over time.

stories help us to
remind us of our culture,
of who we are
and of what we value.

4 thoughts on “Perfect Equals Rigid

  1. What a beautiful post. Overdesign and minute attention to an every narrowing spiral of details seems to be a bit epidemic lately. I think the last design you did for Sq. Sp. was your best that I have seen at the site. I loved it. I have been working on the computer this afternoon and between the frustration of having to work at the library and my arm hurting – this post made my day. Thank You.

  2. hi Nollind,

    glad to see my posts have some degree of staying power. it’s funny because i saw your post "Perfect Equals Rigid" while poking around technorati – looking to see who was linking to me. i saw the title and thought: that sounds familiar. then i read your post (i really liked it by the way) but i ended up back at my own post. re-reading it and getting to the point at the end where i say: "there’s less chance of me forgetting all this in about six months" – pretty ironic. or maybe it’s just confusing..?

    i never did get around to a redesign.. yet.
    i’ve been working on developing a small online community of indepedent artists over at – maybe check it out.. if you get a chance.

    anyway, thanks for bringing that little gem of a post back from oblivion.

  3. Elran, actually that’s how I discovered your post to me, as I was digging around on Technorati as well. I’m glad I was though, as it definitely was a nice reminder.

    Your indyish site looks cool as well! All the best with it! 🙂

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