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Resisting Users from Blaming Themselves For Bad User Experience

As designers, we need to humanize our process. We build interfaces for people and they might not realize that it’s actually someone else’s job to solve their problems and make their lives better. We need to do something in order to resist users from blaming themselves for bad user experience.

User Centered Design (UCD): UCD has become an important part of any industry. We research, build, create, test a product or a service with user’s goal in mind. It is important that your users know what role they are playing. Failures are a part of every industry so there is nothing to worry. We should learn their language and tech them ours, this way we can gain valuable feedback from the users.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP): It is necessary to put the MVP in the users hand sooner rather than later. It is not necessary that this MVP should be a physical product, it can be a prototype, a drawing, a wire-frame or a concierge service. It is better if the users get the opportunity to interact with what you have made because this will help them understand that designing is an iterative process.

Test Early, Test Frequently: Start testing as early as possible. The sooner you test your product with the users, the lesser resources will be used along with giving the product, the users expect. Don’t wait until the high fidelity mock-ups are finished. Draw sketches, draw some more and then show them to users. Make plenty of wire-frames and show them to users. Get them involved by getting their feedback, everyone will have more confidence.

Test with Purpose: We need to define hypotheses first, and make sure we ask the right questions while testing. If they are right, we learn something and if they are not, we still learn something, but it is on us to ask the correct set of questions.

Educate and Empathize: You are asking the wrong questions if you are getting wrong feedback from the users. You should ensure that they understand that this product is for them, and if it doesn’t work then they haven’t failed but we have.

User Acceptance testing (UAT): Don’t get confused with user testing. UAT ensures that the technical aspects of the interface are done well. Users want to complete a task, but can they actually do so? Find it out and rectify the errors before the user sees them.

Don’t get emotionally attached: Focus on making something usable and aesthetics will follow naturally. Don’t spend endless hours adjusting kerning and touching up stock images.

Be ready to change: If the test shows that you’ve made a misstep, don’t panic. Shift focus or restart from the scratch if the resources are available. It is not the user’s job to get it right, but their feedback is essential to make an interface as intuitive as possible.

Design is all about advocacy. We make it clear that it’s not about the user understanding the technology, but the technology understanding them. Whenever we allow the users to blame themselves for our failures, we lose the opportunity to make something truly brilliant.

We have to explain our users that we are going to create something to fit their needs and solve their problems. Great digital products are a result of hard work, change and understanding of both the problem and the user. Bad user experience is like a trouble in paradise for the users. When the users buy your product or services, they need solutions to their problem and not bad user experience which will just add to their problems and issues rather than helping them.

See Also


UX: Privacy

UX Glossary

UX Glossary

user experience

What is User Experience?


Usability, UX and the User

user delight

Achieving User Delight

ux for IoT

How is UX for IoT different?

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