It’s possible, but it’s not practical

“Could we add an Instagram feed on the home page, under the header on the right that pulls from the hashtag of our team at matches?”

Absolutely.
But I don’t believe we should.

On average, most Instagram users aren’t also great photographers. A lot of your audience uploads vertical or landscape photos with white or black or duplicated backgrounds on them. It’s not pretty when you’re looking at it in a grid block. And lastly, that hashtag isn’t always used for your games. Sometimes it’s used for other things. And sometimes people might purposely use it for the wrong reasons. It’ll make an otherwise great design, look ugly (or really inappropriate) right when we’re capturing the users initial attention and impression.

So yes, we can absolutely do it. But it’s not practical to do so.

(this was a real conversation)

As a designer and developer I see the conflict within myself all the time when we’re in the creative phase. It looks good on paper. On paper everything works how we, designers living in an ideal design world, see it.

But in the real world, people don’t always do what the instructions say, users don’t always play how we wish they would and technology doesn’t always love us as much as we try to love it.

It’s a problem economists face a lot. We like to believe that humans are rational but we’re not (that being, that where we think we would behave a certain way, or take a specific action, we don’t). We fall into behavioral traps constantly. We’ll buy the expensive coffee in the cafe we like on-the-go rather than the cheaper one across the street. Even though it’s exactly the same coffee. We often don’t make decisions based on the best one for us, but the one with least resistance. Once we’ve bought something we focus on what we’ll lose rather than what we’d gain by letting go of it. We like to pay in installments rather than once-off even though the emotional toll is greater (and often we end up paying a little more for that pleasure).

We often don’t behave in a way in which an ideal world would. Sorry economists.

Instead, we put in measures to allow or compensate for this. We know for example, that on a certain website, with a specific team, with a specific set of images that these are inevitably going to get messy. So in that scenario, we add some javascript to find the middle and scale from there to fill the designated space so we form consistency and an unblemished user experience. It’s not the perfect solution. But it’s also not the worst one. We find the compromise around the user behavior.

You and I and everyone around us do that with most things in life. We have learned to do it every single day. We make decisions weighing them up all the time.

It might all be possible (theoretically feasible), but it definitely isn’t all practical (objectively realistic). It becomes a question of Can it be done? vs Is this good to do?

And sometimes this means knowing that the possible is crazy but the thing we should do.

Which means our job?

Is to figure out which is which.

And then communicate it.

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