Human misinterpretation and emotive influences are inherent.
When designing human-centered experiences it requires input from humans, which are then translated by humans, to be outputted into a solution. However, we know that no translation is perfect. In order to minimise misinterpretation, developing a playbook with a repertoire of tools and methodologies can ensure that clients, users and designers are all on the same page.
Successful user experiences are thoughtful, attentive and unassuming. Achieving this requires input from clients, users and designers, who provide informative ingredients that are crucial to finding a design solution. When gaining input from the human elements of the research process, each input will come with an understandable tendency to carry assumptions and biases. Uncovering the right data and the true feelings of the user drives the creation of user experiences that are close to painless and effortless for the end user. While the focus is often on the users themselves, by being strategically aware of the client’s assumptions and perhaps also, our own tendencies as designers, we can deliver cohesive user experiences that benefit all parties involved.
Getting the why
User research through methods such as interviews, surveys and workshops, can be useful in uncovering their pain points and what they really want. However, we know there are dangers to designing around what users tell you they want and that it’s important to understand the root cause—the ‘why’. Getting to the ‘why’ involves not only an understanding of their perspective, but also any potential bias and context with which their feelings may be expressed. Checking bias could mean taking note of the user's mood or energy levels, as responses can tend towards being similar and habituated when weary.
It could also mean enabling the user to feel comfortable expressing their own opinions. Especially with socially sensitive research, social desirability bias can cause users to alter their answers to seem more socially acceptable. These aren’t necessarily a fault with the user per se, but rather a human instinct we all share, regardless of what level we are coming from in a project.
A UX playbook provides not only a framework for approaching research and design when studying and interacting with users, it also allows company values to be permeated throughout the whole process. A process that is adequately considered, can be a telltale sign for senior UX designers to determine the maturity of an agency. Our UX playbook is more than a universal rule book, it is essential to our onboarding process and provides users with experiences that are imbued with the Bourne Digital way of designing.
Redefining the why
Reaching a solution can mean redefining parts of the design brief or design problem set out by clients. In doing so, we address and alleviate potential assumptions at the beginning of the project. A key assumptive scenarios is often the client’s perception of the end user. Sometimes there is a need to re-evaluate who the product is really for; it could be that secondary users are actually primary users. Perhaps it is assuming that the user has need for certain features before conducting research. Then there is a need to ask and analyse whether this is a feature is a want or need - especially if it is a legacy feature that may need to undergo digital transformation.
After working through the research and design phase, there are also potential assumptions placed on the design solution itself. At Bourne we believe continued iteration is a key part of our design process, even after a solution is delivered. The status quo can change at any time, and for products to remain relevant, they must be iterated upon continuously. It is our job as designers to translate information from the client and user, into the best user experience and solution. As much as we examine and analyse our users and our stakeholders, it is equally as important to understand that we as the seekers of intuitive solutions can also affect a solution from our own perspectives. Whether it be confirmation bias, cultural bias, or the type of research methods used, these feed into the types of information that the design will be based on.
Having a UX Playbook to refer to can be a powerful tool, not just for objectively determining the appropriate research and design methods, but also serves as a way for all the collaborators within a project to be on the same page. Being on the same page, helps to demystify the UX process and its stages, and ultimately allows the experience of creating these experiences easier.
A playbook is core
Assumptions and bias have the potential to create answers that do not support an appropriate design solution, as they are built on poor evidence. When a solution is built on inaccurate information, it serves as an inaccurate solution for the end user. We all want to find a solution and user experience that properly serves the problem. Keeping some of these perspectives in mind through the use of democratic tools and methods in a playbook, you not only help designers and researchers and the clients whom you are collaborating with, ultimately the end user gets the best user experience possible.
For more insight into how we harness our UX to deliver great user experiences, keep an eye out for our upcoming playbook expansion or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org