I’m a Failure and I Love It ❤

As a UX designer, my job is to make sure our product is easy for everyone to use. I need to build a strong product foundation before passing it on to the rest of the product team (the UI designers and eventually the developers).

When I first started my career as a UX designer, I used to be super worried about what my colleagues might think of my design since they will have to work off of it. Obviously, I was also worried about the users' opinions too. What if I conduct a usability test on my design and none of the users understand it. Will that prove that I suck? How would I tell other people that my design didn’t work? Will I get fired?

It’s ok!

Now that I’ve had many occasions where my colleagues disagreed with my decisions, or the users didn’t understand a part of the product I designed, I’m still not fired!! Phew. I came to the realization that it is ok to fail. Actually, it’s good to fail. No one expects the first design to be the final design anyway.

The key is to fail fast and fail early.

My mission later shifted from designing a perfect product to designing a good product, and then make it better. The way I look at it is that there are ways to improve everything. Every time I think some thing is already good, I would eventually learn that there’s always ways to make it better.


Photo credit: FinTech Recipes — A Tech Concoction For MBAs, JDs and Wannapreneurs

Ideally, I would love to do full completed iteration cycles and do more iterations after the product is launched. However, with the constrains of time, budget, etc., I don’t always have the luxury to do so. I need to make sure the product is almost perfect for its first launch.

My focus is to fail as fast, early and as often as possible. I make sure the UI designers feel comfortable knowing that their design won’t get a lot of changes on the interaction level if we decide to do another usability test with the UI mock ups. Not fixing the structure of the design on the UI level makes the design process so much faster.

Being Efficient

I try to do testing on every stage of the design from sketches, wireframes, and sometimes with the UI mock ups too.

Here are my go-to testing strategies:

No time, no money

I use Invision and usertesting.com. Online testing is very quick. It can be very cheap or even free. It’s good for getting the users first impression on the product.

Some time, no money

Guerrilla testing is a good way to get some really good insights with a low budget. I bought each of the participants (aka whoever was walking by) a coffee to come sit with me and look at my design for 10 minutes!

Some time, some money

Recruiting people for a usability test is a very effective way to get a lot of insightful feedback. This allows for better selection of participants which can be based on the real user groups. Although, it can be kind of pricey since there needs to be some compensations for the people who participate.

Be the Good Type of Failure

Of course not all failing is good. If I don’t learn anything from my failure, then it’s not a good type of failing. I always try to ask the right questions when I do research so that I know exactly what the users problems are, and what I can help to improve their experiences.

I’ve learned to look at failure from a different, positive angle. I’m now very open to failure in order to improve. It makes me even more confident with my design iterations and also ensures the team that the design they will be working off of is an improved, iterated version based on real research and not just purely imagination.

Thanks for reading!

I’m planning on writing about my website redesign soon :D