As we set out to build great products we are constantly inundated with opinions, insight, and data. Stakeholders, users, and builders alike will have opinions about the very product we are building. Some strong, some weak. Opinions are fine. Everyone has them. But let me say this, UX is not an opinion.
UX processes are meant to test our assumptions through rigorous research and analysis. This is not the same as a stakeholder saying, “I like this button in blue better.” Simply using the 10 Usability Heuristics from NNG, we can solve close 80% of problems. This type of usability testing is data based on more data. This is not the same as perusing a website and pointing out what you like/dislike, perhaps to the untrained eye it may seem that way. It’s our duty as UX-ers to verbally detail our decisions.
UX experts do not give opinions, they provide an analysis based on their knowledge of the brain, past experience, and data when it’s available. — Celia Hodent
I love that quote above and it’s the one that inspired this blog (read Celia’s post). As I said earlier, everyone will have an opinion and truth be told it will be a combination of their knowledge and past experience. But the difference is that we, as UX-ers, have been studying the data, combing through the reports, and talking to the users. This is what make our analysis so much more poignant. It becomes even stronger when we are working on a team of UX, PM, Dev, and writing! These are no longer opinions but the informed scrutiny of a team of experts designed to maximize the product and its experience.
What about assumptions, one might say? Great question. Our assumptions are coming from the same place, research. They are not based on making buttons “pop,” but are based on what users are actually using. The beauty of assumptions is that we have learned how to quickly test and approve/disapprove of them.
One of the greatest mental leaps I have had to make in my journey as a UX-er (which is still evolving/growing/iterating) is iteration. Growing up as a creator/artist/designer, my opinion was the (or should be) the one that carries the most weight because, I know design! 😉 As a UX-er, we don’t know it all and can’t know it all — and so we iterate and iterate. And IT-ER-ATE. We keep going until we solve the problem and the best way to fix it.
Also, we learn to anticipate problems because we are empathetic to the user. We are making informed decisions on pain points so that we can eliminate them. So that we can smooth out the journey. A great example of this is an informal breakdown I did of the Starbucks app. Somebody might say, well that’s just your opinion. But it’s really not. It’s the result of empathy, analysis, research, and usage. It can make the product experience better through informed decisions, not opinions.
UX feedback should be prioritized over other feedback from all other channels because it is the least biased. We’re not moving buttons for fun, but because it will convert the most users or increase call-to-actions or sales, etc.
Remember, design what they (the user) want, and build what they use! This isn’t an opinion, it’s the result of UX-ing the product to success.
Thanks for reading! The more clapping the more awareness we bring to UX and the better we can do our jobs and create amazing experiences. So, clap on Shia, clap on.