One of the hardest biases to overcome on a web project is assuming that every user is just like you. While this may be the easiest and most familiar lens to look through, it is often not the best one.
Over the years, we've found that this outlook can be one of the largest and most dangerous UX missteps. This approach disregards your everyday users and market research in favor of a singular outlook.
Are you truly listening to your users, or just talking at them?
We’ve found that many users are not interested in how great your service or product is, but they do care if it makes them great.
“Quit telling us how great you are, and start telling us how you plan to deliver something that helps the user become greater.” -Kathy Sierra
But, why not me?
You are more familiar with your business than any visitor ever will be.
This product familiarity is good, but it also presents a unique distinction between you and your audience.
You are not the end user.
If you work on a web development or design team in any capacity, you are likely not the end user of your product, project, or application (that is of course, unless you work on web development products. But even large companies like Google struggle when only testing internally).
You know too much.
In the Curse of Knowledge Chip Heath explains that years of immersion in your business can lead to generalizations and that while based on knowledge, your customer/user won’t understand.
You aren't the one clicking the mouse.
Since in the end your visitor is the only person who clicks the mouse, a user-centric design is the most successful approach to achieving your goals.
You need more than good looks.
Creating designs or content that pleases your eye or sounds amazing has little effect unless it solves the users problems.
5 Tips To Help Put Users First
1. Remember outsiders (not insiders) are what matter most.
Ask someone outside of the project to take a look and give feedback. It can be anyone: a spouse, a friend, or even that guy next to you at the bar.
2. Put yourself in the shoes of a beginner.
Remember: you are not a first time user, but many of your clients are. Bring in a variety of people with different experience levels to help keep a more well-rounded perspective on the project.
3. Create personas.
Researching your audience can help guide your project decisions along the way. Find out your users needs from web analytics, surveys, and user tests. Good user interviews and conversations also provide a wealth of information. So take the time to connect with your users and collect real-world information to build your personas.
4. Take a step back from that favorite new design trend or flashy competitor site.
We all love following the newest design trends, but they might not be the best for your users. Commit to creating a product that addresses user needs, and helps your users complete their tasks. Because no one enjoys digging through a website to find that one piece of information. Make it easy!
5. Work with a web development team that values user-centric design.
If you're starting a new web project, companies that talk about the importance of user research and challenge you to consider points from your user's perspective are good to keep around. It's true that your experience, good design aesthetics, and new technologies are great to have on your website, but are those areas helping the user do what they came to do?
Using the above points can help you to start thinking about your users and their issues first. This user-centric approach helps guide good UX design and can help create a web presence that users will feel is created directly for them.
If you have questions about how to make your website more user-friendly, get in touch.large billboard