We’ve all had moments in life when we needed to make a decision and we chose to follow gut instinct, instead of taking time to make a well-informed decision. In essence both of these choices are coming from the same part of our brain; the part that stores information, but is one better than another?
Gut instinct decisions are informed
Our brain is always working; every experience we have is absorbed and they soon become patterns that are compared with the different situations we go through in life. What we call ‘gut instinct’ or intuition are answers based on these recognised patterns stored in our brains. Once intuition is reasoned, it becomes an informed decision.
During the years I’ve been solving problems with design, I’ve failed and succeeded. These experiences have built my knowledge about how to tackle certain decisions, so now when a specific issue comes up, chances are that using my intuition isn’t going to result in the wrong choice.
Working on our latest project, RowActiv, I had several decisions to make on branding, colours, and the style of the product. Since the market is so unexplored and niche, my research wasn’t really returning anything helpful. So I trusted my gut instinct and took risks and, even though the client wasn’t convinced with some of my decisions, in the end all agreed that we made right decision.
Your subconscious is an improved version of yourself, but that isn’t always good
Because our subconscious uses the stored experiences in our brains to inform us, the outcome may be good as well as bad. We might make the mistake to over-complicate the design of a feature, focus on the aesthetics and not the UX, or stick with a certain colour palette or layout because it worked last time. This is what our subconscious thinks works best, and this is what I believe leads to trends. As an improved version of us, our subconscious will try and overcome every problem with a known solution, but that’s not always the best decision.
Does that mean that we don’t need research?
NO. Nein. Niet. We always need to evaluate and inform our decisions by carrying out research. Your (well experienced) gut instinct might come handy when there is no other way to make a decision, but more often than not you will find that a well-founded, data-based decision is right. Probably not the most innovative, ground-breaking decision, but still right.