Anytime you get an idea, it’s easy to get married to that idea very quickly. This is definitely true of anyone who creates or designs. You like your clever solutions and you really want to see them make it into your product.
The problem is that a lot of times, people get married to these ideas before they’re ever considered in the context of the user. It’s easy to let excitement for a design or new bit of technology to drive the feature rather than the other way around.
I think a lot of people do this because they base the design on assumptions. And yes, when I first started out, I’m sure I made a lot of assumptions and justified a lot of things without talking to actual users (so bad, I know!!!).
Assumptions today are risky. For example, consider just one part of someone’s experience, the environment in which they are using your product.
It used to be that we were tethered to technology. When most people only had a desktop computer, it was easy to assume that if someone was working on their computer they were at the office, at home, or at a library.
But today, instead of us being tethered to technology, technology is tethered to us.
Because of this, we can’t assume anything anymore. Technology is so small that we can be almost anywhere in the world and still just as connected as if we were sitting with our laptop in our living room.
The point here is that it’s tempting and easy to make assumptions. But, there are so many variables at play when it comes to someone’s experience that it’s hard to assume anything anymore.
This is why research is so important, especially today.
I had a boss who used to say, “Nobody in this company is normal” and what he meant was that we couldn’t assume anything because we were so vastly different from the people who would likely use our product. I think about that a lot, especially as more and more people, adopt technology both earlier and later in life.
So, next time you catch yourself or someone on your team making an assumption, take a moment to try and back it up, do some research, don’t let yourself get married to any ideas too soon in your process.