Design is about building relationships, not questionnaires
We will never truly understand our users. Their agendas, their motivations, their likes or dislikes, maybe even their own relationships are always changing. From the moment in time you asked them how they feel about a solution their mind has started to change, they want more. I don’t believe we could ever understand our users 100% but it’s not anything to feel guilty about, I believe this understanding is important because we can use it to drive how we go about building relationships with real people.
Through this post, I wanted to place emphasis on what we sometimes miss in our design approach, what seems obvious as a designer but sometimes even the best of us can miss. It’s that great user research is about building relationships not stats and percentages to convince others you are doing the right thing.
“Real people will sit silently in a group discussion and while listening and looking at you asking your cleverly crafted questions and probes, think: don’t these people know they are going to die one day?” — Siamack Salari
I understand how valuable some findings may be but nothing is as unique as building a relationship with the people you are designing a solution for — there’s a sense of trust, respect and overall an honesty that could never be replicated through a faceless question.
Learning and emphasising with real people is all about building relationships so that your solution can evolve just like the individuals you are serving, through these relationships you are the one in control of your solutions values.
You may understand your user 6% today, then it might be 12% tomorrow or 10% the day after that but is we are able to realign our expectations with this reality we can start to remember how any design approach is about learning and not necessarily all-knowing.