I’m not usually one for making New Year resolutions, no overt declarations made at midnight anyway. But as I think about it more and more, I probably do make resolutions, all be it small little goals and plans to make this year a success. So here is a goal that’s been on my mind, this year: I’m going to try to avoid using “I” when discussion design.

research wall

One of the biggest challenges with design within any organisation is people adding their personal opinions to decisions about design. Clearly your opinion is going to have some impact on the design process but how this translates into the design, iteration and validation process is another matter.

As UX’ers we have all seen this problem play out: the design you’re working on is discussed with other stakeholders and inevitably the discussion turns to one or other individual’s opinion about the design. What they think works, what they think doesn’t, what they think needs changing. This can be frustrating and often misguided.

But hang on, I’m an expert, you’re an expert, our opinions count don’t they?

Well, actually, no. In a sea of opinions you are less likely to win an argument with a senior stakeholder based on opinion alone. User interfaces and human behavior are both so complex that the interaction between the two does not lend itself to pure guesses based on personal opinions in UX.

A simple example of usability testing has shown time and time again, that we need to have a home button on the homepage opposed to “I think people understand that the logo links to the homepage”.

WE as UX folk should be having a positive impact on the organisational culture to reduce the opinion based discussion, not adding to the noise. Anti-egoism is a habit I want to follow and a culture I want teams to take on board.

Only when you test the design on your target audience do you get an unfiltered warts and all view of how the design is working. You need evidence data to learn what works, what doesn’t work, and what users really works. Winning arguments with stakeholders occurs when we bring evidence to the discussion.

Join me in taking a new years resolution of avoiding ‘I’ when discussing design and try to eliminate referring to your opinions in UX!

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