‘I want this and it need’s to look like this’
The famous words spoken by business led marketeers This is the single most frustrating set of words that can be given to a UX. Never has such a small set of words been the catalyst for a shitstorm of subjective non-sense with minimal user research.
What User centric design tries to do is remove the subjective and base the designed element on factual user based stats. This gives a much higher chance of success for new elements as the end users have clarified it’s usage.
Usually older members of staff are stuck in their ways and can only see their point of view. Their comments usually derive from things they’ve seen and want from competitors or sites that are so far fetched JK Rowling would struggle to understand the narrative. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and that is a must, but the problem is wanting to hold on to the visual representation they have seen. Every site has different users and the visual representation found might not work for your end users. For example; Trying to get a Vegetarian to eat buffalo meat. The vegetarian will clearly not eat the meat and will walk away. This is the main issue with companies navigating through to a digital workflow.
UCD is a way of forming a non-subjective view on an element which is held together with solid set of stats to prove it’s a worth. There is of course drawbacks with this methodology most businesses don’t like the sound of, the cost.
It costs money to test your designs either by lab testing, interviews or AB tests on the website itself. Testing your products and designs is part of everyday living, how do you know you like a food without first testing it? How do you know you like the paint colour without first testing it?
A clear example I use is the retail sector. The retail sector do not stock things the end users don’t buy. After all they are driven by sales and having 100,000 banana hammocks in the warehouse will be wasted money. Not even Black Friday can help that issue. So why would a website need to operate any differently? You want your end user to use your site in the way it’s intended, be it discovery, buy or in life and the best way of making sure it’s fit for purpose is to test and learn. This methodology is becoming to be more well spread however it’s a behaviour change along with a culture change. Especially with the impact of an online sales in today’s markets.