Asking why

April 8, 2014

Last week I talked with a friend about my UI Design challenge and he recommended me to focus more on the why. Why do you make certain design choices? Often you do things, simply because that’s how all the others do it. If you can think of a way to do it different and know why it’s better, than you’re extraordinary.

Thinking about the why in design reminded me of my years in college where I studied newspaper and magazine design. In those classes the why was just as important as the design itself. You have to know why you design things in a certain way. You should be able to defend your design choices. That will help you make better deliberate choices and improve the quality of your designs.

Asking why is not just helpful in design, but in almost every area of life. After the conversation with that friend I read a couple of articles about asking why. One thing asking why can help you with is to get to the root of a problem. Often when there is a problem, you only see the surface. When you ask why, you’ll get to a deeper level and you’ll find out what was the cause of the situation.

Going to a deeper level is what asking why often does. It can help you reveil your motivation for the choices you make and the reasons for the things you do in life. It can also help you remind what your motivation was when you started. Why do you like your job? Why are you doing the things you do everyday? Questions like that force you to think deeper and require a real answer.

Lastly, asking why will trigger your natural curiosity. Young children ask ‘why?’ a lot of times, but later in life we somehow stop doing that and just take things for granted. If you want to stay open and keep learning, stay curious! When you walk into a situation you don’t understand, stop for a moment and ask why. You might be surprised what answers you’ll discover when you use the w-word more often.

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