It’s easy to get lost in the details; Obsessing over pixel-perfect screens and clever micro-interactions. But the result of our work does not exist in isolation. It’s a woven tapestry of threads across screens, flows, products, and environments.
The details are incredibly important, but we must also consider the composition of the whole.
For all but the most basic of systems, the composition is hard to define. In the case of Automattic and WordPress we have over 20 years of history to consider, spread across dozens of products and interfaces. It’s complex, to say the least.
The best way I’ve found to understand the composition is to start small. Focus first on the most likely experience directly before and after. Make sure your work fits between, filling in any gaps you find.
Gradually broaden your view. Consider what happens two steps before and after; Three steps, and so on.
Creating a large visual record can help; A huge Figma canvas, or printed out screenshots on a wall. This gives you a space to make notes and circle any gaps.
As your understanding of the composition grows, you’ll find way to make the whole experience more intuitive and cohesive.