FULL ARTICLE: https://www.askthesherwins.com/advice 

SUMMERY: The Shewins reply to a letter asking for advice on improving poor performance reviews and understanding vague instruction from superiors, stating “be more strategic” about design. The Sherwins reply by summarizing a brief recent history of the industry’s role of asking user centric questions and how in the past 10 years that many other professions have caught up. After defining design’s “identity crisis” they outline several solutions with the primary takeaway being “Describe the outcomes of your projects, not the outputs of your process. Outcomes are strategic things, outputs are not. Outcomes highlight the user, outputs highlight the designer.”‘


  • Seek heuristics early in the process
  • Help identify the causes of the problem you are facing
  • Help understand how the problem has developed over time
  • Help develop a strategy to solve the problem you are facing
  • Design has educated everyone to ask “how does this solve the problem”
  • Design has given up the exclusive ability to ask “What problem is this solving for the user? “
  • Design needs to ask the better question of “What’s the impact of solving this problem?” 

Finally the Sherwins believe “Design is the amplifier of the voice of the user, and it’s time we started seeing that our users affect other users. “., and encourages the questioner to tackle the hard questions of How much responsibility do we have for that? How many partnerships are we building with other designers? How are we thinking strategically about the ethics of our industry? What are the outcomes? And for how many?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section.