5 Things Web Designers Can Learn From Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is a classic – The only consulting detective in the world, the ruthless hawk who never misses anything. Unfortunately, Sherlock Holmes is a fiction, work of the brilliant Arthur Conan Doyle. But even so, Holmes can teach us many things.

A web designer by profession; I love my work and my favorite fictional character is Sherlock Holmes. But these are two very distinguished aspects of my life I stated – how do they correlate?

I believe web designers and developers have more in common with Sherlock Holmes than they might think. Holmes can teach us many things. Doyle’s work is an abundance of treasure for aspiring web designers.


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Here are five things web designers can learn from Sherlock Holmes; five invaluable tips that will help designers in their profession (– who would’ve that someone would tell them to study Sherlock Homes for becoming better at their job!)

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. – The Adventure of the Second Stain

Get the complete data first before you jump on anything. I know you are eager to get started, you are pumped up to send a proposal to your client; also the client doesn’t like being bugged for information. But please please please, take it from someone who has spent his life dealing with all sorts; make sure you have the complete data of client’s requirements. If you rush with insufficient data; you are committing a capital mistake. You will fall short of developing what the client wants. There will be a string of changes and you will probably end up pulling your hair out.


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Before turning to those moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the inquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems. – A Study in Scarlet

Always focus on basics. Build a platform from the ground up – that’s what Mr. Sherlock Holmes is trying to tell us. Don’t worry about what happens if the client asks you to make dramatic changes; whether you should tell him at the start that you don’t want to offer support. Nay! – Just focus on what you have. Focus on implementing the design requirements. Always beginning with “elementary problems”.

It is, of course, a trifle, but there is nothing as important as trifles. – The Man with the Twisted Lip

In coding, one comma can make all the difference. If there is a massive fault in your code; it will be immediately picked up. However, if it is a small mistake; that teeny tiny tag that you forgot close and is now causing alignment issues, it is a nightmare! You may think it only a smidgen of a mistake but the most important and crucial part of web design – smidgens!

Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details. – A Case of Identity

Take guidance from experienced designers but never let go of your own ideas. Do not fall victim to “how it is normally done” – that might make you an average designer but never a good designer. Study the design requirements hard, find out the best solution; not the easy or hard solution. You can tell your client how you went the extra mile to complete the work; how you found out the most suitable option – that’s never a bad thing to hear, is it?


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One should always look for a possible alternative, and provide against it. – The Adventure of Black Peter

Website designers are often faced with a seemingly impossible task, either your project manager or your client is asking something that cannot be done. Most designers just tell you “No” and that’s it. This leaves a bad impression on the clients, they are not designers, they don’t know technical stuff, and they don’t understand what the difficulties are. So what should you do? – You should give them an alternative and follow it up with an explanation.

Go like this, “I cannot accomplish what you have asked, it is technically not achievable. However, we might do this instead, but let me tell you about the pros and cons of this… How about we find an alternative and leave this as it is…” – This is a much more polite and “intellectually acceptable” way to say no.


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