My grandfather was a watchmaker. When I was a child, I used to sit next to his huge wooden desk, watching him design and assemble clockworks made of dozens finicky pieces. The amount of patience, determination and precision he put into every facet of his designs was something I have always admired. Watching a running clockwork for the first time felt like magic. While a computer’s insides’ looks rather cold and dull, a watch immediately captivates us with its beauty, craftsmanship and human touch. It wasn’t until I was twelve when my grandfather finally offered me one. As he put it on my wrist, he said something I’ll never forget: “Remember, time is the most precious gift of all.”
Maybe not as dramatic as uncle Ben’s last words in Spider-Man but it made an impact in the way I think about design ever since. Time is the most valuable and limited resource we have. That’s why good design is about saving time.
Designing digital experiences comes with an ingrained obsession. The obsession of speed and performance. Amazon calculated that an increased loading time of just one second could cost it $1.6 billion in sales each year. Google loses about 8 million searches (and ad displays) when page speed decreases by just four tenths of a second — scary shit!