Actionable stereotype

Don’t worry, there will be always someone unhappy with the outcome of the project.Unknown author

How many times have you heard that? And usually it’s someone in charge, like a project manager, an account director or your team lead who says that. It doesn’t feel that bad right? It’s like a re-assurement of trust, it’s that pat on the back that helps you deal with difficult people and situations you might encounter in your project.

An initial re-assurement that even if you don’t come up with the experience you feel it’s right, it’s still good for some people and bad for others right? So why it doesn’t feel right then? So why are they telling you that? Is it about you or them? They want you to feel better because you want a great thing and it might not happen? Or maybe they need ease of mind for their project, they need the project to be on time and on budget. It’s their re-assurement that nobody will break their comfort zone … well, nobody will ask in the middle of the project for a user research initiative that takes 2 weeks and costs $20k right?

We accept that tap because we’re humans and the empathic feeling produced it’s quite rare these days, but you also have to remember who you are. You are the Experience Designer, so go beyond these feelings and ask yourself why this happened. Why this need of reassurement? You already trust your work, you already know your good at this, why they think you need this?

You never tapped their backs, did you? You never told them that even if the budget and time is low the outcome will be ok-ish: some users will be happy, some users don’t. No, because your job is to design the best thing for your users. You strive to design for a visceral experience.

Take action! This stereotype should not be a “tap on the back”, it should be sign, a trigger that something’s not right. Talk to the person who said that, go find out if the team is fine, if the stakeholders are misinformed or maybe your manager has some issues the you were not aware off. Tons of things might go wrong, find them out before it’s too late, or you will become a windmill and not an Experience designer anymore.

I’ll leave you with an amazing talk that helped me numerous times:

Sarah B. Nelson – Effective creative leadership

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