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Neglecting Users Goes All the Way to the Top

Published 8 months ago • 1 min read

Neglecting Users Goes All the Way to the Top

by Jeff Humble

Dear Reader,

When I was looking for my 1st design job, I applied everywhere.

But when it came time to apply for a 2nd job, I was a lot pickier.

I fantasized about places where design is done right...where users and designers get a say in product decisions.

Here is what I was hoping for:

  • In-depth research, then design
  • Ample time to "get things right" in V1
  • "User needs" > "business wants"
  • The user's perspective considered throughout projects

Here is what I got:

After 12 years, I know that neglecting users goes all the way to the top.

UX Research at the Project Level

No matter where I went, projects looked the same:

  • Design first; lightweight research later if time
  • Barely get to V1, rarely V2
  • "Business wants" dominate all projects
  • The user's perspective is ignored until the end

If you zoom out beyond that project level, you see that the same problems in design projects also apply to strategy.

UX Research at the Strategy Level

Strategy is just like any project. You have to do your research.

Those bold big plans for your company or product require a specific understanding of users. And often isn't there.

  • Design the strategy first; research if there's time
  • Barely get to V1 of strategy, rarely a V2
  • "Business wants" dominate all strategies
  • The user's perspective is ignored completely

I'm willing to bet that your company's product strategy says nothing about the user. It probably mentions many solutions for the roadmap and maybe even some competitors, but it probably doesn't mention the person paying the bills: your users.

Strategies everywhere are making huge assumptions about what users will do.

I hope you see that as an opportunity.

Luckily, there is a strategy that includes the user, and it's called a UX strategy (learn more about it here).

Use it to spread the user's perspective in your organization, and you will never be without a job.

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Source, shared by Linus Mimetz in the Guild

Until next week! ✌️

Jeff Humble
Designer & Co-Founder
The Fountain Institute

The Fountain Institute

The Fountain Institute is an independent online school that teaches advanced UX & product skills.

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