The most obvious function of design is to make things visually interesting and pleasing. With most people gathering information from their smartphones and computers, information is better received when it looks nice.

What most people don’t see are all the times a designer must ask the question “why?” Every design decision is guided by this simple but important question.

Personally, this has been an area I have worked to improve on through the years. Sometimes it is easy to just say “Well, just make the button orange,” and then simply move on. However, this leads to less successful designs and User Experience (UX). I’ve made it a simple habit to answer the “why?” as I go. Whether I’m in client pitches or in my own head, I’ll say “we made the button orange because not only is this a brand color, but it also captures the user’s eye. This way, they are more likely to click through.”

When the process of asking this question occurs, design moves from just some pretty, visual piece, to something that is actually serving a function and accomplishing specific goals. If the client’s goal is to come across more trustworthy to their users, by answering “why?” as we design, we can address that very question throughout the entire process.

Asking “why?” brings in the Psychological aspect of design that is sometimes largely overlooked. Design is about nuances, patterns and visual cues, that come together to create a finished product. Without asking and answering this question, we are left with something that may look nice…and just end there.

So I challenge you: Each time you make a design decision, ask “why?”