Psux therapy

    The testament "Test empathy for the user" on the tablets of our discipline - usability - is not only traced, it is made through perforation. Often, the ability to empathy is included in the list of criteria for fitness for military service as a user’s lawyer. But why only the user?

    In general, if your empathy is innate, but not acquired in the form of politeness or something else, then you will get into the shoes of everyone around you, including the cat living in your entrance. A born empath does not need a message that will now sound: not only the user needs empathy, but also the developer, a free or involuntary designer. With the same Cooper, with all his philanthropy, business goals are seen more as limitations of design, rather than as aspirations of living people. Even if these aspirations are to use Boolean algebra.

    How many times have I looked at any screen form or page and thought: oh my god, what did they want to achieve? For example, why is the user’s phone requested during registration? Do they really want to send him a password, or is it to collect personal data? Or simply because today “everyone does it”? Why did the customer choose the one that is clearly weaker from the two proposed calendar options? What premises did the all-conquering formal logic come from, if it led to the fact that the whole screen is divided between the cards of two products, but this is not a scenario for comparing and choosing between them?

    I had a choice - either to seek an audience with the author of the reviewed creation, or to read long tedious specifications (which sometimes also need to be managed to beg), or ... turn on empathy for the author.

    Do not think that I want to seem taller or wiser than everyone. Just from the side (side, not top!), The developer and user often look about the same: like children playing in the constructor. One collects, and the second tries to play this collected. The first assembled the tank, the second saw the plane in the assembled piece. The first one is offended by the underestimation of himself as a tank builder, the second is angry “why are the tracks attached to the plane, but they prevent you from flying !!!”. Each has its own Galatea, and both want to love her in their own way.


    In the application to the developer, empathy becomes more like psychoanalysis: usually you have to carry out some reverse engineering of the development in order to get to the bottom of the motives that determined the design decisions. Having failed to get to the “why” and “why”, which might not even have been in the developer’s head in any explicit form, it is difficult to give relevant recommendations. Of course, usability heuristics are always appropriate - that’s probably why only the lazy one doesn’t install the UX prefix and doesn’t add usability to the list of services. But without getting accustomed to the skin of your “patient”, it is doubly difficult to make recommendations so that the very best wishes are not met with red-hot bayonets. And this will certainly happen if your wishes ruin the picture of the world (in common parlance - a mental model). Eid (It) of the developer will rage and rage,

    Although the user and the developer are quite symmetrical with respect to the product, of course there is a difference. Resistance to change on the part of the developer is much greater. The user as a protest has only a mental model, and he is ready to give up that one if the product promises sufficiently large benefits. The developer has a much stronger feeling for Galatea, because he put more effort into it. Moreover, with the help of her, he intends to conquer the world, or at least make money on new housing / car / coat. Well, of course, the developer has a slightly rosy idea of ​​the users with whom he has to part.

    Of course, in life everything is not so neglected. Fortunately, there are often customers who essentially directly buy a service called "talk", realizing that their eyes are blurred, they need a shake-up and at least a small dose of reflection. This usually happens when a customer is represented by a product director or CEO. If there are several management levels and / or mossiness in it, then the tendency to buy a report “by weight” prevails - so that there are no less pages than the contract says, and even with prototypes, and with a guarantee of increased conversion. But more self-confident people understand that they themselves will find the best solutions anyway, not us, and we need only correctly asked questions. Just like in psychotherapy.
    And what to do, in what place of the developer to apply his empathy to the usability? As with the user, canonical approaches work with the developer.

    Firstly, focus. If you remember and feel the goals of not only the user, but the developer, then you will be able to conduct a conversation not only in the key "how bad everything is," but also "how to achieve the goal." In the case where there is no full confidence in understanding, the option "if ... then ..." will do.

    Secondly, less attention to words, more action. Often, developers cannot explain why something is arranged exactly in this product in their product, and not otherwise. Just like a user who cannot clearly tell what his problem is right now. If the developer is not a specific Linus Torvalds, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, but a team, then the probability of ignorance is even higher. So look at the deeds and think: why is there a button, why is there a scroll? Do not dismiss without looking even obviously erroneous decisions, but be sure to understand why it was done that way.

    Summary: Be a lawyer for the user and a psychotherapist for the developer.

    Posted by Anton Alyabyev, UIDG Analyst.

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