By Demetrius Madrigal and Bryan McClain
Published: March 7, 2011
“While it is always advisable to understand the user perspective, there are certain dangers that are associated with an overreliance on user input.”
In last month’s column, we talked about ways to include users in the design process by employing Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs). While it is always advisable to understand the user perspective, there are certain dangers that are associated with an overreliance on user input. As we’ve mentioned in the past, improperly conducted user research can be a liability that could lead you down the wrong path. These kinds of mistakes are extremely costly and easily avoidable. The trick is to know where the pitfalls lie and ensure that you navigate them properly. This month, we’ll talk about ways to be a critical consumer of user research.
Users Don’t Always Know What They Want
Users often have some difficulty being objective and thinking outside the box when it comes to factors that affect their own lives on a day-to-day basis. Even UX professionals, with all our experience developing innovative products, occasionally react to the introduction of a new product that could greatly influence our lives by asking ourselves: Why didn’t we think of that? The answer is that we, as users, become so accustomed to our own needs—and the pain points we encounter in trying to satisfy them—that we fail to perceive them. As a result of this phenomenon, what users report they want may not ultimately reflect what they actually need.