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The top mistakes UX designers make



While UX designers are taught to fail fast, Scott Berkun talks about the things that they keep failing on, and advice to break the cycle.

While UX designers are taught to fail fast, Scott Berkun talks about the things that they keep failing on, and advice to break the cycle.



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The top mistakes UX designers make The top mistakes UX designers make Presentation Transcript

  • “Rather than talk about tactical mistakes, such as in prototyping and running studies, I focused on the ones we overlook the most, about attitude and culture.” − Scott Berkun
  • Not credible in the culture.Most designers and researchers are specialists, making them minorities in the places they work. Mosttraining UX people get assumes they are working alone, which is rarely true. This means their values andattitudes likely don’t match the work culture of most companies. The burden to fit in, or to recognize whatthe culture value’s and provide it, is on the specialist. If you are the best designer alive, but work in a placeignorant of design, your lack of credibility in the culture renders your design ability useless. Being aspecialist means you will always be explaining what you do, your entire career, including translating yourvalue into a language your coworkers can understand. Advice *Earn credibility in your culture on your culture’s terms.
  • Never make it easy.The first users you have are your co-workers. How easy is it to follow your advice? As a specialist, its easy tobecome the UX police, scolding and scowling your way through meetings. No one likes the police. Generally,people do what is easiest to do. If your work creates more work for them, they will naturally want to avoidyou. Specialists often scowl from ivory towers, where they provide advice that is hard to follow, orsometimes, hard to understand as it’s not in the language of the culture. Advice * Make it easy / fun to follow your advice.
  • Vulcan pretension.There are deeply embedded value systems among designers and researchers that are self destructive. Forresearch, its Vulcan: “I research, analyze, and produce data. I do not offer my own opinion ever.” Buteveryone else does give opinions, and in many cases the opinion of a researcher is morevaluable. Researchers should say feel comfortable saying “This is not based on data, but I think…” whichprotects the integrity of data, but allows them to offer opinions just as everyone else does. Advice * Get out of your office.
  • Never get dirty.In many tech cultures there is plenty of dirty work to do: mainly finding bugs and reporting bugs. Anyonecan do it, but no one wants to do it, and everyone avoids it. Often there are bug bashes or engineering teamevents to find and deal with bugs. As a specialist, its easy to go home early while the development teamstays late to do the dirty work. If you’re part of the culture, you’d stay and help when there is dirty work tobe done. But if you’re a consultant, you’d go home. How do you want to be perceived? For people who don’tknow what you do, helping out with the dirty work may be the first way to earn a positive reputation, or tomake that first friend or two. Advice *Have something at stake.
  • Forget your coworkers are meta-users.Unless you write production code, you are not actually building the product customers use. You makethings, specs, mockups, or reports, that are given to others who must convert your work into the actualproduct. This means you must design both for you actual customers, and for your coworkers, who are thefirst consumers of your ideas. Usability reports are often tragically hard to use. Mockups and design specsoften forget details developers need such as sizes in pixels, and hex colors. Advice * Design for your developers/managers, as they are the first users of your work.
  • Pretending you have power.Most specialists play advisory roles. They give advice. There is nothing wrong with being an advice giver.The challenge in being an advice giver means the critical skill for success is persuasion and sales. You needto be an expert at selling your ideas. To pretend that you don’t need to sell your ideas, is to pretend youhave power. Advice givers should be evaluated heavily on how much of their advice is followed. Givingadvice is easy. Getting people to follow it is where your value is. Advice * Consider switching to a role with power.
  • Ignore possible allies.Among your co-workers, one of them loves you the most (or hates you the least). If you are not enlistingthem to support your requests, or give you feedback you’re ignoring your possible allies. Advice * Seek powerful allies.
  • Dionysian pretensionFor designers, its the dreamer mentality as an excuse for not having to do the thinking required to make anidea real. “I just come up with ideas for things, its not my job to figure out how to make it work.” This isrelated to never getting your hands dirty, as all ideas have dirty work required to make them real that mustbe done, and if the person coming up with an idea does not participate in the process, it demotivateseveryone else from wanting to follow that idea. Advice * Drop your ego.
  • Don’t know the business.Everyone should know why they have a job. Who decided to hire a UX person instead of another developer?What argument did they make? Find out. Find out how the company makes money and which kinds ofdecisions are likely to make profits grow. Having a better UX doesn’t guarantee anything: many marketleading products are UX disasters. How can this be? If you don’t know how that’s possible, then you don’tunderstand how many other factors beyond UX are involved in your business. Advice * Follow the money
  • Scott Berkun Books Advice * Read the Books.
  • Image Source/CreditsSlide 1 Scream Woman http://tiny.cc/1kw28Slide 3 Dr. House http://tiny.cc/3s91rSlide 4 Blackboard http://tiny.cc/1o9s6Slide 5 Mr. Spock http://tiny.cc/ds78pSlide 6 Rugby http://tiny.cc/gcktuSlide 7 Coworker http://tiny.cc/8bzw3Slide 8 Superman http://tiny.cc/kc0l9Slide 9 Kung Fu Panda http://tiny.cc/s476ySlide 10 Dionysos/Bacchus http://tiny.cc/prlyjSlide 11 Dollar http://tiny.cc/n8a0hSlide 14 Scream Kids http://tiny.cc/3whup