It’s the number one rule for any consumer who wants to start investing his or her money: diversify and balance the portfolio. Sure, buy some of those hot stocks you’ve had an eye on, hoping they’ll triple in value over the next year or two. By all means, take on some of those funds featuring emerging markets, which could be the future of investing. At the same time, though, buy blue-chip stocks and safer bonds that will help ensure that if things go badly, you’ll still have something left when the dust settles.
While the same reasoning applies to designers, for some reason, most of us don’t take the same sort of balanced risk approach to our interfaces. We tend to fall into one of two camps: the safe and risk-averse design investor, relying on patterns and surefire design elements from a usability perspective; and the risk-seeking designer, looking to hit a home run by doing something no one ever has before. While the former can be great for a large corporate behemoth like a phone company, and the latter strategy may work out with a completely original product, most design efforts fall somewhere in the middle.