Sucking Less – A Framework for Failure

Session Title

Sucking Less – A Framework for Failure


Brad Nunnally, MiTek Industries

Session Type: Presentation

No design is perfect. This is a hard truth that every designer has to learn one way or another. A hard knock lesson that has the ability to be the best teacher a designer could ask for, or completely crush their spirit. Dealing with our failures is never easy, especially when a personal connection is involved. There are many methods for dealing with your shortcomings, but few that revolve strictly around design work. Over the course of this presentation, a framework will be offered that any designer could use to evaluate what went wrong, learn how to avoid the same mistake again, and be encouraged to embrace failure. Failing is an integral part of design, it’s as much a part of the process as sketching or user testing. The time has come for us all to accept our faults and learn how to deal with them in order to move on.

Resources that will inform the session:

‘Why designers fail and what to do about it’ by Scott Berkun –

‘How to diagnose creative failures.’ by Scott Berkun –

‘Then What?’ by Frank Gehry –

‘A kinder, gentler philosophy of success’ by Alain de Botton –

‘How do you learn from failing?’ by Brad Nunnally –


Brad has been practicing User Experience for the past 3 years. During that time he has worked mainly with the financial and health care management industries. Currently, he is the Usability Architect at Mitek Industries. There he leads up the User Experience Design for an international business management application for the home construction industry. In St. Louis, Brad helped start, and now heads up, the local IxDA Group. The group’s goal is to be a local advocate for User Experience and give local professionals a peer group in order to share their ideas.


  1. Posted September 23, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Great topic to tackle, Brad. Learning to embrace failure can be tough, but it’s critical to success. Would love to hear what you’ve uncovered in your research into this question. Got my vote!

  2. Posted September 28, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Great topic!
    Suggestion — before this goes to the committe, grab some of the specific insights you gleaned from those videos (and from writing your post) and list those instead of just listing the sources. Also, if you have any practical suggestions on how we can keep ourselves in a healthy frame of mind re failure when we’re on the job, and ways to get our peers/clients/employers to see it that way too, that would double rock.

  3. Lori W. Cavallucci
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 10:22 am

    How many of us do repeat mistakes before learning from them? I look forward to hearing Brad speak regarding this topic to help me evaluate and move on more easily. Great topic Brad!