partial recall

a blog of ideas, links, and musings.

Interaction Designers are Idiots

The title is not true, but it does grab your attention, huh?

Nice use of Twitter – @shorterjakob:

New Alertbox: IxDA mailing list people are f%&$ idiots: http://tr.im/nOtp

So I saw some retweets of this synopsis of Jakob Nielsen’s latest Alertbox. What made me laugh is that it’s so true. Folks in the UX industry should know that the best designs are those accompanied by user observation and other types of user feedback, but some design teams feel that such UX methods slow the process down and are unnecessary. In addition, the reality is that for some teams, not every design can be tested or observed, so designers are often left with providing “expert review.” Unfortunately, expert review is not necessarily a stopgap measure when it’s success as a tool is not as proven as other methods. I think we as designers and UX professionals need to be reminded that although we may be very talented, if we are not the target user, we cannot assume we have the right design unless there is validation by observing our users. Nielsen brings all folks in the UX industry back to earth by reminding us that the user is always right.

In addition, what Nielsen and Jared Spool emphasize is that there’s nothing more important than observing users. Nielsen argues that even observing 2 users with the design can dramatically influence your success (compared to expert review) at deploying the best design. Nielsen’s point is not to denigrate interaction designers. Instead, his point is OBSERVE, OBSERVE, OBSERVE. Design without observation is merely art. Design w/ observation is a good product.

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