A thoughtful, sensible piece, thanks! I’ve been in these situations.
I find myself wondering about the underlying reason compelling some of us to fixate on small UI design details. I think that sometimes, organizations don’t really allow UX designers to have a voice in product strategy.
All too often their jobs are defined as “make it look pretty.” When your role is defined that way, it’s easy to become fixated on visual details, because that’s the only place where you feel you have a voice as an “expert.”
Sort of “You asked me to make it look pretty, but now you tie my hands in letting me do that.”