Well, I wouldn’t scroll below the fold…
How to keep subjectivity away from your app/website design
What’s never mentioned in a designer’s job description is the core responsibility of being able to define the rationale behind your designs, especially against the subjective opinions from first impressions.
In my 6 years of experience as a designer, working on digital products, I’ve heard this statement from clients, colleagues and bosses:
“Well, I would not click on that call to action,” or even better, “I wouldn’t know there is content below the fold!” — Yup! Now, this article isn’t focused on the controversial above-the-fold discussion itself, so we’ll dial back to dealing with subjective feedback.
You can brush off your colleague’s comments who’s standing over your shoulder, looking at the design for the first time..but the job becomes 100x tougher when it’s your boss or even better, the client.
Over time, I’ve found three simple methods you can adopt to be able to not just share your design thought process, but also ensure that the focus stays on the end user’s experience and the problem we’re trying to solve.
1. Follow Dilbert’s way and A/B test
At times, the opinions can become an ego test. To avoid any confrontations and also, ensure its not you who’s having a mind block against feedback — just A/B test the point of conflict. It’s as important to validate our assumptions with tenacity, as that of the other stakeholders.
Whether it be the call to action color, choice of the carousel image or even the copy in your design — you can A/B test it all (in separate tests, though). Tools like Optimizely make it real easy, for designers and even marketers to test elements of a website (Taplytics for mobile apps). You can deploy tests without any coding knowledge and create multiple versions of the same property being shown to different parts of the site/app traffic.
2. Data speaks louder than personal opinions
Platforms like Usertesting.com make it super easy to measure how your target audience (esp. for B2C products) interprets your design. Configure your audience and run a test on the platform to get real customer feedback in form of videos, within 24 hours.
You can even start by trying out their free test offerings here. It’s just fun seeing how users navigate through the experience and how different it is than what you/other stakeholders assumed.
3. Bring back the focus to the problem being solved
When you’re part of a larger team, it becomes very easy for the focus to move away from the core problem being solved to siloed areas of attention (depending on who you’re talking to).
A person from the brand team, might not be happy that you’ve not used their serif font in every single element while the CMO still thinks the logo isn’t big enough. Do you remember if the font used for “Setup Pickup Location” CTA on your Uber app screen is uppercase or title case? Where does Uber’s logo come on that screen and how big is it?
Even without Uber’s logo on every internal screen, the app’s adoption speaks for itself — mainly based on how beautifully they’ve solved the problem.
It’s crucial to understand and reinforce that all stakeholders are there to solve the same problem. If you have gaps there, it’s time to go back to step 1 of the project, where the problem was defined.
Focus on the problem and how you can design the best solution for it. Easier said than done but teamwork does become easier, if everyone just leaves their egos at bay.
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