3 (more) things UX designers don’t want to hear

Posted by on Oct 4, 2014 in articles, UX Design | No Comments

“This will only ever be used on desktop, our users will never use mobile/tablet/unknown future device.”

Things change. Technology advances. Society adapts and adopts complimentary behaviour. All of this is short spaces of time. Over the last 10 years laptops have become lighter, tablets and smart phones have become common place and ever more powerful. Screen sizes have ballooned, become 3D, curved but also shrunk and never lost the definition of a larger screen.

Who’ll be able to say what kinds of devices we’ll have in years to come? the size, shape, mobility, how they interact with other devices or with people or their place in society. I always speculate and future-proof as a precautionary measure.

I think there’s another issue here which I’ve touched on before about discrimination across the web by device or ability. Designing for one or the select few above designing for most universal use further cultivates the web as a space in which silos exist and you’re put in a certain silo according to what you own, how you browse and your technical, cognitive or spatial function. I feel this teeters into Ableism, of which I have strong views on.


‘…’ (or the blank look I get when I mention designing for accessibility issues)

An issue that bleeds in from the first one. As with designing for different devices, screens and browsers, design for ability and understanding. Allow you users to tailor their experience if they need it. Make the text bigger, make it highest contrast, allow screen-readers to do their job without tripping over code problems.

Make the web a place where everybody can be and take into consideration ability needs and don’t ‘make consessions’ for this but build it into your over all plan and structure of your site, content and strategy.

‘Oh, the Marketing team/Above the line team/Customer service team? we’ll never need to talk to them’

We don’t work in isolation. Unity is important but even more important is understanding and empathy for each other and the environment in which we work. Disregarding a role or team within the place that your work (or a company that you may work with) is again, a form of discrimination. See the worth in what others do even if they perhaps do not. Know that a task, a job, a team exist for a purpose and do your best to understand how that can be made better for all involved.

This comes down to one of my favourite phrases ‘Use your words’ in the most plain, most honest way that you are able. Communicate your needs, concerns and goals with each other and know that if you consciously try to make things harder for a colleague or collaborator, know that you’re ultimately making it harder on yourself and the place/company in which your work.

I think these point boil down to a little known life skill which we (hopefully) use with gusto in our personal lives: Empathy.

Working in a problem solving role, especially when that role requires creative thinking/output, you really must exercise that empathy muscle. Done so by using your ears, brain and abstract thought processes in which you put yourself in other peoples roles to the best of your ability.

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