“Case Study” is an oft-used term by many design firms as a part of (or in lieu of) their portfolio of work but I would consider it mostly misused in each situation. A case study, as I understand it, comes from the field of science or research that usually includes experiments, surveys and/or analysis on data gathered from individuals or groups. More often than not, a “case study” seen in the standard web portfolio hasn’t been research, tested or evaluated and just gets labeled as such as a fancy word for portfolio piece.
It doesn’t matter much, other than as I set out to pen a few short thoughts on a recent re-design I offered for a client I struggled with how to label it. It isn’t an actual experimented case study since I didn’t test it against anything other than my own collected knowledge of UI and design preferences, but it is a review of where it currently sits and where I envision it going as we move forward.
My current interest in gaining new knowledge about my craft has been leading me down the path of realizing that part of my job as a creative is to use design to solve problems. While dressing things up is the fun part and the part that gets noticed the most, there are plenty of underlying things that feed into the overall look and functionality of the site.
My job is to make you look better but if in the process of making you look better I make your site unusable for clients and kill your sales, I haven’t done you any favors nor do I have a leg to stand on as an “expert” down the road. Included in the fact that I need to make your site pretty and you happy, I have added responsibility to provide the best experience for your users through things like predictable navigation, color/font consistency and organized content just to name a few. Throw in a couple of Make My Logo Bigger cream requests in there and you can ultimately see that there is a need for more learning in the problem solving category on my end.