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ux arguments

August 2017 – UXswitch

Ever been a situation when there is a clash of opinion on a design? It could be something simple like the background colour of navigation or something more fundamental such as the sequence of steps that a user is intended to follow. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of what you think or to remain completely calm in these situations. Especially if it’s your design, a design you believe in, where you feel that the proposed change would impact your vision of how the design should work.

Different kinds of argument

Now unless you are a once-in-a-generation design genius like Steve Jobs, who also happens to own the company, you should expect real push back from other designers or stakeholders from time to time. People have differing opinions and arguments around a design are to be anticipated.

Some arguments are well founded, based on user research, solid design heuristics or business rationale. Others come about from personal preferences or motivated by other more nefarious reasons. One hopes that the former trumps the latter but that is not always the case.

The insurmountable impasse

Needless to say, it’s important to stand up for your point of view and there are ways in which you can become more persuasive as a designer. However, when a seemingly insurmountable impasse occurs, and this might seem controversial, you should consider taking one for the team. Look at bigger picture and ask yourself if the proposed change would render what your are designing completely unusable? If not, then a concession should be possible. Ask whether persisting with your point of view would affect interpersonal relationships or have a negative affect on team unity? If so, then a concession could also be appropriate. Conceding should not be construed as weakness, in fact it’s the very definition and inevitability of teamwork. If you are flexible with others, it’s likely that they will be prepared to compromise next time round. The key is to acknowledge the opinion of others, after all you might not always be right.

The guerrilla in the room

If the loggerhead cannot be resolved then you could suggest getting an independent view point, ideally from some end users. Quick and cheap guerrilla user testing just might do the trick. Be prepared to be vindicated or to be proven wrong. In any case, accept the outcome.

However, if you find that you are being consistently overruled despite having solid rationale or even research-backed justification, then there might be a fundamental issue with the design thinking and culture of that organisation which ultimately might not be for you.

For more UX career advice, go to UXswitch.com/thinking. If you are looking for a design job or are looking for designers to join your organization, join UXswitch today.


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