Another week and more ramblings off the top of my head…
Don’t be afraid to be wrong
Having been both a web designer and someone who managed designers for years, I’ve experienced the challenge of overcoming pride of ownership. It’s one of the toughest things to work through. You pour hours into designing something you think is all-around awesome, then decision-makers pick it apart and users stumble through tests trying to navigate it.
The good designers eventually learn that it’s not a personal attack. You’re designing other people’s products, so that other people can use them. You might think you’ve produced the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if stakeholders or users don’t connect with it, you’ve got rework to do.
It’s all part of the evolution of great products, or at least should be.
The same is all the more true for user experience practitioners. You will not succeed in UX if you can’t get past your own design ego.
Well-balanced UX designers shouldn’t get so hung up in their own beliefs that they think they know better than users or stakeholders. They must take business needs and mesh them with user expectations.
This isn’t done through relying on personal taste — it’s done through the arsenal of tools a good UXer has in his or utility belt. If you can, shadow users and learn a day in their life; research what competitors are doing (or aren’t doing); study experiences that tackle problems similar to what you’re trying to solve; and so on…
You’re not going to stick the landing on every single decision, and that’s perfectly fine. That’s what continual user feedback is for. Trust your own expertise, but realize that it’s not bulletproof.
You’re going to be “wrong”. You’re going to make assumptions that fizzle when actual users attempt to use your product. Learn, adjust, and move forward.