Faux User Centred Design 101

12 10 2006

I was in a meeting today, actually it was a collaborative design workshop I was facilitating.

There was the Project Manager, two Business Analysts, and a Developer in attendance.

I like to work off a tablet pc, when I’m doing my intial low fidelity mock ups. I usually also project the tablet screen up so everyone can see whats going on.

Anyway the technique is not the imporant bit. What really got me revved up (in a bad way) was that the BA, seemed to have a ‘really good idea of what the users would want’. Problem is, when I asked did he do any user interviews or base this on some form of market analysis or something like that, the answer was NO.

Now, I might be a bit ignorant, but if someone wants to say “i know what the users want” sholdn’t they have some sort of …oh I don’t know, data to back that up?

His intentions were fine, he wanted to deliver a good product that was user focussed. Thought he had a good bead on what his users would want. Heck he thought, I’m a user I a member of the public. Surely what I want would be suitable for everyone else?

WRONG!!!!!!!

It took a lot of skill to bring him around and control his opinions at this workshop.

What’s the lesson then?

As UX designers, we have generally got a good bead on our users, at least the generic profiles that apply to our work. Hell we’ve all done a million user profiling exercises. We’ve interviewed heaps of people for heaps of projects.

Never Never Never forget that there are always more people out there. Each with their own little grasp on the world. This makes them all different and thus the emergence of different needs.

Sometimes guess the profiles. Hopefully your skill in the Art will be enough.

But you should at least ask anyway, just to make sure.

Users first people, users first.

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