I have the day off from work, and am in the earliest stages of exploring a new project. I have a general topic, and I’ve found a couple of datasets to confirm that there is information out there that I could compile and use. And now comes the hardest part: resisting the urge to jump right in.
But I am choosing differently today. I don’t want to be slowed down by the constraints of my tools, and so I’m going to spend some time sketching and playing with concepts on paper before I move into the electronic world. Will I miss things if I do it this way? Probably. Will I find out after the fact that the data can’t fit into my sketches? Perhaps. But that’s what iteration and second drafts are for: resolving the conflicts that you didn’t see or didn’t deal with in the first pass.
Ironically, this approach is likely to get me to a product faster, in the end. I’ll have a better idea of where I’m going and what I need to optimize for, and I’ll be better able to work around problems when they come up. Design is all about slowing down to move faster, and that applies in a product, in a project, and often to life in general. You’re more likely to get where you’re going quickly if you know where that is, and a solid vision makes it easier to tell what’s essential and what’s not.
Today, I have enough information to have a sense of the data and what information might be available for me to use. Now, I need to figure out what I want that data to say, and I don’t want to be slowed down by my tools while doing that. Sometimes it’s more important to pause than to jump right in.