Design & Taste.
Based on my experience working with clients at Mäd, it can sometimes be challenging to get a tasteful end-product designed. This is not because the designers lack talent, or because the product is itself complicated or challenging to design, but because we are working with non-designers on the other side of the table.
This is mostly true of all the projects we work on, but some clients tend to leave the design details to their design partner and concern themselves with anything that touches the business. This is especially true with designing mobile applications.
Other clients, want to have their voice heard on every specific detail, and they tend to provide executional instead of directional feedback. This rarely leads to a good result, especially when you consider that often the client is not a single person, but a group of individuals with different design sensibilities.
The key problem is that people who have bad taste, don’t know that they have bad taste. They genuinely believe that their opinion is just as valid as a full-time professional. This gets taken to an absurd level when a group is asked to “vote” on a design because by definition there are going to be fewer people with great taste than with mediocre taste in almost any typical project group.
This means that you are bound to get a lower quality end product than having a very small group (read: 2-3 people) make the decisions while listening to a wider group’s inputs and suggestions.
I believe this incorrect “democratic” approach comes from the fact that it appears to be fair to the entire group, but that’s not the point of a design project. The project’s goals are to create the best possible and usable design for whoever is going to use the product, not to make the project team feel better about themselves.
Let’s remember that democracy sentenced Socrates to death.