26 July 2013

A Truth About User Experience

by David Clark Moore

It starts with people

Many people I've met love user experience design. They love it because it wraps reasons around design decisions and helps take out the feeling of "well it just looks better there". It helps defend a design.

The issue I've experienced is that many are drawn to UX because they love the design phase, they love laying items out on the page, and they love the newest design pattern or technique. It's infectious. Everyone begins catching wind of the same fever. Sharing cool sites, designs, buttons, etc... Suddenly, it can easily slip from the right design to the best-looking design. The trouble is that we love to skip the most important part of UX, 'learning the experience'.

This is the pre-design stage, it’s the 'learning' stage and it can be ground shifting. As the user shares their story, a user experience expert must translate those into real definable issues, then craft actionable software solutions. The listening, interviewing, and mapping out of people's true experience is the hardest part. I've seen so many great designers eager to skip it. It is so terrifying because really leaning in to the customer could unravel the design in our head - before we started the project. That fear is exactly why listening first is so important. We must suspend our vision until we truly understand the person who will use it.


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