EGO

I have been stressed lately.

Overwhelmed by this desire for my layouts to meet the goals of the project. For the past four weeks I have failed with each new layout and what’s worse is that I didn’t come to this conclusion until I took a look at my Google Analytics.

I had an 87% drop off rate from hitting the landing page.

Shoot me now. Why didn’t I look at this sooner?

Well…because I thought I was that ish.

No really, my ego got in the way of me reading up on the classics like I normally would at the start of each project. I need a refresher, each project is different. Not all projects call for the same stuff. They each have different approaches. My own personal portfolio site is of no exception.

And yet I forgot so many key things

I will never know everything by heart. I don’t think I want to. I hope to be refreshed and inspired each time I pick up one of these books. Yet I can not stressed the disappointment I have in myself for not doing this. I have wasted a full month designing things and designing them wrong. It hurts my personal branding. It questions my commitment to my craft. How can I fail to do research for probably the most important work of my career: that of my own?

If any project should get the best Ux work-up, it should be my own.

uxbooks

I sat where they sat

Have you ever met a user that doesn’t want your help? Someone married to their ways. Not all users want all the help that you can offer. They just want you to fix “one problem” and not touch anything else.

They’re like hedgehogs, the closer you get to their operation, the more they stick you with their protective quills.

So what do you do?

Show the love, show that you care, show that you know what you’re talking about. Sit where they sit. Work with them, become a co-laborer.

Why?

Your users may not just have problems or needs, they can be the problem, because of the way they deal with things. Users are people, people are protective of the way that they do things. They honestly won’t admit that the way they go about things are wrong. The possibility of them claiming that something else is better, is greater. Unless you, as a Ux Designer truly care about your users, you can’t help them.

Work with them

I don’t mean compromise. Don’t be blind to their needs, don’t ignore them and don’t use it as an opportunity to promote your intelligence. People don’t want to know what you know, how you do things, until you care to know what they know and to first do things their way.

Purposefully sit down with them and do their job/complete a task the way they do it. Experience their struggle. Talk about it, discuss it, brainstorm on the ways to make it better for the both of you [make it a team thing].

Some people are blind to their needs.

They might not know they need the help of your application. They have been grinding for so long, making it work, that they have ignored it. Their way of life, their way of doing things has been built upon it.

Be as concerned about the user, as you are of the user’s needs.

These opportunities can help you mature your interface. Give you a better understanding of how an expert vs novice user interacts with your interface.

You will have outlier users, “problem users” who don’t fit within targeted user group. You can deny their needs. Yet it is important to acknowledge that you will come across them, so expect them, accept them and give them an opportunity to help open your eyes. Those who give you the most headaches, cause the most problems, don’t understand what to do with your interface or how to use the tools to their benefit, need you the most. Not the users with zero complaints.

One of the best ways to discover needed resources is to need that very resource yourself.

Design for Chaos

I admit it, up until this project I equated goal-directed design/user-centered design to designing for the perfect outcome. From paper wireframes to clickable prototypes my focus was on the goal of the user and how to help them achieve those goals as quickly as possible. Designing for an “in a perfect world” scenario.

Rarely is the world “perfect”. I created a beautiful mobile interface for OvationTix clients. Using one of our more sensible clients to design the interface around. When I should have designed for the “less sensible”. Continue reading →