In discussions about a website, I had said that the word “downloads” on a software site would make the user think the page that followed with have links to download something, probably the software itself. The reply was, “Well, how do you know what the user would think?”

This is a very tough question. This question is sticking in my mind because it is so difficult to answer. My whole career is focused around the notion that I know what users would be thinking in any given situation. What kind of UI Designer or Interaction Designer would I be if I didn’t know what the user was thinking and feeling.

But the question wasn’t “What would the user be thinking?”; it was “How do you KNOW what the user is thinking?” What statistics could I muster to prove my point? My mathematical proof could I show? What specialized training and diploma would act as credentials?

This problem has been a thorn in my mind for years, this is not new. I can blabber on about this forever. But I am consistently stuck on the same question, for which I have no answer.

In a related note, the boys are starting to ask questions for which I also have no answers. “Because I said so” is not an acceptable answer to my colleagues and it isn’t acceptable to the kids either.

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