It’s important that we become conscious of the effects our development process have on our users. We often get caught up on (our own) excitement of creating, inventing and getting things done! But we ignore how these actions affect the users.
From our side, we are happy! We worked hard,. Struggled against deadlines. We got the new features done! We leave the office and celebrate! (Exterior shots. Exciting loud background music playing. UX folks and Developers are dancing on the streets, out-of-focus urban lights, cars driving by, lots of “motion blur”, bar and dance club interiors, everyone smiling, life is great!!
Meanwhile…Cut to.…Our User’s Offices…
(Interior shot) – It’s dark. Lights flicker. Mostly quiet, except for the sound of sporadic sobbing. Some people are slumped on their chairs, their faces banging on their desktops. Some are pulling their hair. Zoom into the clock. It says 7:30pm on a Friday night. A phone rings. It’s a man’s wife asking why he’s not at Tiffanie’s ballet performance. Tiffanie is crying in the background. She’ll be scarred for life! A woman sadly cancels a dinner date. Some haven’t had lunch nor dinner because of all the extra work they just discovered today they have to do thanks to that damn software update!
Every time you update your application, you are changing how your users work with your application.
– You are confusing the users
– You’re making the application harder to learn
– You are wasting your user’s time because they already have found a workflow that they like. When you change their workflow they have to reconfigure their established process
– Sometimes they have to update training materials and retrain staff
– If the users have integrated the application into an automatic workflow (via APIs) – you have created more work for them
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Simply designing and pushing things out is not good enough. You have to look at the bigger picture and see how the changes will affect the users.
So, while everyone is happy, celebrating the new release, it becomes harder than usual to look beyond our collective excitement — and this is why this type of problem persists. No one likes to be the party pooper. So people ignore the issue and joins the celebration.
Unfortunately/Fortunately, UX folks have to practice empathy and advocate for the end users.
Yes. Sometimes UX folks have to bring up bad news, like:
Software updates don’t exist in a vacuum — (the way we like to pretend user stories do) — they have real world repercussions!
Yes. UX folks are total downers and party poopers! It’s part of our job. : )
We love you developers and product managers. We really do. Don’t be sad and angry. We are doing this for the greater good. You can thank us later.
If it helps, we have to suffer along with you. I mean, who likes to think of “new” user scenarios. Maybe we can “collaborate” ourselves out of having to do anything by saying something like: “How could we possibly know which of these scenarios are really happening?”.
This is where user research comes in.
No user research? Well, now you know at least one place where you’ll have to pay for the lack of it.
What? Have another beer? Sure! Hey…wait…what was I saying?
(Cut to UX folks and developers dancing the night away.)