The UX of UX Design

I think I am starting to unravel a great mystery.  Why do people who are not trained and not talented in UX insist on telling designers what to do?  I pretended to be a business owner talking to a UX Designer. 

The UX Designer wants to do XYZ.  I think to myself, “I worked hard to get funding, to put the team together.  I have the vision for the company.  I am the one with the IDEA.  I am the founder.  The project should be an extension of my vision, not the vision of this artsy-fartsy pima-donna.  Well, I am in charge, I am going to do it my way.  Screw XYZ.  I want AYZ.”

This applies to non-founders too.  It applies to anyone who has any say whatsoever on any project that includes design.  Everyone has an opinion and everyone feels that if they get their input into the design, then they are valuable.

The problem arises when most (not all) of these people have terrible UX instincts.  They want to affect the design but usually do harm, not good.  And the UX Designer is usually NOT the person in charge.

I have no solution to the problem in reality.  In my ideal world I would say, “Delegate to your designers.  Dictate to them on Business Goals and Priorities.  Tell them success will be defined by measurable things like Sales or click-through rate or satisfaction scores.  (Anything that is confidently and objectively measurable).  Then let them do their thing.  Give feedback, but do not insist on any changes, even if you hate it.  Then TEST the design on large numbers of people, not 3 people in the hall.  Focus groups are terrible.  Test in real world scenerios.  If the tests consistently come back negative, then you may want to find a new Designer.  This will give the design and the business the best chance of success.”

In reality, there is not enough bandwidth to test.  In reality, this lofty statement is met with annoyance.  In reality, 1 guy who says, “It doesn’t work for me” will scuttle a great design.  Reality can suck.  Ideal world is better.

NEW BLOG UPDATE:  Katie doesn’t like it.  She wants the posts OPEN instead of closed by default.  Plus the blog is crashing in IE7 under some circumstances.  Need to work on that.  Also, need to add search feature.


2 responses to “The UX of UX Design”

  1. Dan Avatar

    I agree with Katie that you need the blogs open, or at least a few of the most recent ones. I bet that is hard to do, have only the last 3 posts open. It will be nice when computers can write the code to a request that I give it like that. Anyway, I like the pictures on top, but the orange (i think that is called “surface of the sun orange”) it a bit overwhelming. I am a fan of subtle. Ok, so to make your point, I know nothing of UX design. I don’t even know what UX stands for (which is bad UX, and I can’t think of a related word that starts with “X”). My instincts are probably horrible; however, my ability to know what I like it pretty good. That is what the non-designers are referring to, they are saying what they want for them, but it is the designers mission to find what is the best solution for the most people (or at least for a particular target audience). Sure, I might not like the orange, but maybe that is a cool color in the world of techno-geeks and you want to impress other jQuery-ites who might visit your blog. Hmmm, jQuery-ites doesn’t work for me, how about the jQuerium (like the borg of jQuery).

  2. Tim Avatar

    UX design is intertwined with an organisation’s model of management. Unless we have a revolutionary new enterprise organisation models, we shall never have client-centric enterprise and accordingly, we shall never see decent UX output. Current enterprises are boss-ego-centric. They make profit until the boss feels comfortable, not until the client is satisfied.

Whatya think?