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Our deliverable sometimes makes us obsolete (and that’s okay)

Here’s two separate things I heard last week:

  • Using the design system, another team [in the company] created a whole new app without your involvement (Quote from one of our bigger clients with over 15 apps in their software portfolio)
  • The templates you delivered us four years ago are still the main part of our app (Quote from a startup we helped in 2014 that is very alive, kicking and successful)

These are two separate instances of the same thing: a customer who is using what we provide to make new things (without involving us).

My gut reaction is that it’s not smart from a business perspective that we didn’t do that specific work.

But then I also think that it’s a good thing. It’s never been my goal to lock down someone and to have them keep them paying for our design services forever.

Of course I want to establish long term client relationships. But I also want to work on interesting design problems.

Crafting the same (basic) chart and navigation interface over and over is not our company goal. Otherwise we would sell UI templates. I want to work on interesting user interface challenges. However, there are basics UI needs that many people simply have.

With our focus and documentation and systems a smart client can go on and do a lot themselves, without paying us.

Our deliverable sometimes makes us obsolete – and that’s totally okay.

Johan Ronsse

About the author

Johan Ronsse is an interface designer who is trying to find the balance between aesthetics and usability. He tweets as @wolfr_2.

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