Red emphasis mine.
….There’s a big gap between designers and the majority of users. …. Generally, if you’re a member of a design team, you are not representative of the target audience. I don’t care if you’re the interaction designer, the graphics artist, the information architect, the writer, the programmer, or the marketer. All of these people:
- know too much about the product (be it a website, intranet, application, phone, whatever);
- are too skilled in using computers and the Web in general; and
- care too much about their own baby (so they can’t imaging visitors bouncing after scanning the homepage for 30 seconds — but that’s what outside users do).
What I think the post misses, at least when considering web and software design are the potential ways one can use multivariate tests to tease “ideal” designs from data. It requires you leave the ego-centric designer world and trust the information that you’re getting from analytics. I’ve found this to be a tall order, as this attitude spooks those just wanting a website and wanting to impress their boss or peers. They are more apt to choose the designer with a flashy portfolio than the one with the best data-to-design transfer methodology. This is such a shame when it comes to long-term site benefit/profitability.
Many web designers think “Users should be able to…” far too much.
It could just be the designers I know. I’m certain there are some out there with the skills necessary to dig into the user reactions and analytics as one of their design tools.
If you thought it’s easy to get to Google, think again. In our current round of usability research, only 76% of users who expressed a desire to run a Google search were successful. In other words, 1/4 of users who wanted to use Google couldn’t do so. (Instead, they either completely failed to get to any search engine or ended up running their query on a different search engine — usually whatever type-in field happened to be at hand.) – Jakob Nielsen
Chew on that for a minute. Google is the simplest website I know of.
If it turns out that 25% cannot, so how well will your flash-embellished, cascading menu website going to work?