The farmer and the cowman should be friends (Krug) — DAY 41

The chapter number 8 of Steve Krug’s Don’t make me think! is about why most arguments about usability are a waste of time and how to avoid them.

Web teams waste a lot of time just trying to decide and reach a consensus about usability questions. Usually different points of view create discussions that can’t be proven from any side, what makes harder to reach an ending point.

Everybody likes…

This kind of discussion usually starts with: everybody likes…. We, as any other web user, have our own preferences, but we differ from other as we work with it, focusing on making it easier for other people.

It’s hard for us, though, to leave our preferences outside a project or a board meeting. The result is a room with so many personal opinions and preferences that create huge gaps between points of view.

Users like…

Every time someone in a meeting says: users like this way, what they really mean is this is the way I like… And every time that discussions reach this point, it is really hard to dissociate personal from professional.

Each professional tends to see things from their own perspectives. It’s not by chance that an engineer became an engineer, or a designer became a designer. This is related to people’s minds, ways of thinking and specially preferences. When deciding about a home page or a website, all these biases come up again. Designers, CEOs, engineerings, project managers and so on.. Each of them will probably think in a different way ant will try to bring their best perceptions for the product.

Average user

There is no average user. This is a myth. Each user is unique and has its own preferences. So this is why there is no right or wrong in user experience. Any assumption should be well thought out, well executed and tested. The question, more than a just irrelevant do most people like… must be something like does this option, with these items, in this context, on this page will create a good experience for….

Every time we, as designers define something using our own assumptions and preferences to decide, we are doing it wrong. The solution to reach success in UX design is TEST, WATCH, TEST, WATCH… Decide.


Roberto Pesce —

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