IxD Through Mixology, Chapter 4 User Validation

At the end of May I presented at MidwestUX in Columbus, Ohio on Interaction Design Through Mixology, and how our careers mirrors a hobby of mine and I have picked up the task of going into detail on each topic. Today: User Validation.

In Mixology

Have you ever spat out a cocktail because it was too strong or just tasted awful? I have. And I have thrown out more drinks that I have made than I have ever ordered. Not everything comes out right the first time. Even more, not everything that I enjoy is accepted by my friends and family. Not every cocktail is for every person.

Just because I followed a recipe or made something I like, does not mean it will be a popular drink. Remember the old design adage “The user is not like me”. It applies to design as well as mixology.

In Design

Design teaches that the user is unique and that validation is critical every step of the way. It is easy to, after a time, believe that you can empathise with the user in a way that you can make decisions for them. But in truth you are not your user. You will never be your user. Accept that you need validation.

So What?

Validation matters. In every field where subjective opinions or domain knowledge is important. This is a simple lesson and an easy one to forget. It is even easier to dismiss as unnecessary. Always remember to validate.

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