Why aren’t more UX designers in jail for murder?
I’m starting think that UX Designers may have super powers. Over the past 10 months as a Sales and Marketing Executive at Tobias & Tobias, I have been surrounded by UX super beings.
They can create beautiful and sophisticated designs from a simple idea, all the while managing stakeholders, juggling 96 different opinions, working through the night, hitting crazy deadlines… achieving the impossible before most of us have had breakfast.
Or maybe a good UX Designer is a multi-tool – data analyst, top-notch researcher, information architect, babysitter, psychologist, innovator, peacekeeper… which is still basically a super being; and so we’re back to super powers.
UX Designers: I take my hat off to you all. I wish I had your nerves of steel, your infinite tolerance, and your unflappable zen.
So how do you piss off a UX Designer?
Let’s be honest – like any zen Master, a UX Designer’s patience can, in fact, be tested. And I don’t mean marquee text, horrid colour combos, or gradient abuse – all of which were wrong even in the 90s.
I mean dumb answers to simple questions from clients who became designers overnight and seem quite happy to disregard decades of experience and expert opinion; which they’re paying for!
1. What is the set of requirements for this project?
Oh, that’s all done. Our procurement manager is so talented! She created the wireframes in PowerPoint in just three hours! They’re great – just plug them into Photoshop, or whatever, guys, and I am sure 90% of the work is done.
(Marvellous! What about getting a maths teacher involved in the project?)
2. How well do you know your customers?
Well, we’ve been in this business for 30 years, so I’m pretty sure there’s nothing we don’t know about our customers. No need to do any research – waste of time – sounds boring.
3. Who is the primary target customer?
Everybody! So you need make it entertaining, but not too entertaining, and colourful, but not too colourful, because – you know – our clients are serious, but not too serious. Increase brand-awareness, of course, and what about cats? The web loves cats, right? And maybe something a bit retro?
(No problem at all. We’ll throw in a hot pink colour scheme and a Madonna song. Cosmic!)
4. When do you need to go live?
Oh, as soon as possible! The coding takes no time at all, right, now that it’s basically designed?
(Yeah, sure thing, I’ll do the copywriting with my left hand while I do SEO strategy with my right…)
5. Can we get your feedback following last week’s wireframe review?
Yes – about that – the finance team saw it and they’re really not sure. I think it’s the purple. Or maybe the buttons. Is that useful?
(How about your friends and family? How do they like the purple? Anyone else you need to run it by?)
So why aren’t more UX Designers in jail for murder?
It’s all about breathing. UX Designers know how to breathe and stick to the following zen mantras:
Take a deep breath. Count to three and launch a petition to make UX Design a mandatory subject at the primary school.
Now, take a deep breath again. And come back to reality. All joking aside, simple rules exist to avoid banging heads with clients:
Set up expectations. Be strong enough to say no. Think upfront from the word “Go!” Become a best friend with wireframes and sketches. Get clear on client’s responsibilities. Stick to agreed communication processes.
And design, pray, love.