UX Designers considered harmful

Your product is an UX disaster. It has pretty screens, but behind those pretty screens is non intuitive experience. Your end users have more WTF with your product than while driving on the roads. Your product is so bad, your marketing uses cartoonish drawings in promotional videos instead of actual screenshots.

You are told to hire an UX rockstar. You find the smelliest person you can find and hire them, because you are led to believe a rockstar must have long hair, bad BO and also be obnoxious. You bring that person in. The UX rockstar comes in and says things must be flat and he makes every button look and be of exact same size. All your dev team says this is greatest thing since slice bread ( they have had it with tweaking CSS for each button anyways, so consistent CSS is  attractive).

Your users are even more unhappy. You convene a council of elders meeting. You learn that the problem is that UX guy you hired is overburdened and thus engineers are still making up stuff on their own. The way to fix this problem is to hire more UX people. You make your UX rockstar a department head and give them a group of 5-10 new UX rockstars.

You start getting back beautiful power points and expensive expense reports as they attend all kinds of design conferences. They also insist you buy some Van Gogh and other expensive art to inspire design aesthetics in the company.

Your users are even more unhappy. 

Story sound familiar bro?. UX Designer role may be the greatest trick ever pulled by the devil and we are all been taken for a ride. Consider this:

1) Apple design is an exception and your rockstar ain’t Ive and you can’t afford him anyways.
2) Best UX products are often designed by the founders of the companies that have great design sense – you are not one of them ( if you were, you wouldn’t be building UX departments)
3) Acceptable, if not great UX is often done by engineers, rarely by an UX team.
4) 94.17% of all UX engineers do not have a clue about what the users want to do and they don’t even bother talking to users.

These are what I had observed – you could argue my observations are wrong and you would be welcome to do so. I only ask you pay for the drinks when arguing and as you already know, I only drink Ardbeg or better. 

So, what do you need to do:

1. Hire software engineers that enjoy talking to customers. Hire engineers that are humble and are interested in listening to others. These are not easy to find, but totally worth it. Protip: They rarely apply to jobs that have descriptions like ‘rockstar’, ‘ninja’
2. Give engineers a free hand to create mockups based on their interviews with customers.
3. Hire engineers who are experts at front end technologies and can prototype ideas in matter of minute, not days.
4. By default decline all requests to attend design conferences – they are nothing but amplifying the bozosity.
5. Ignore everything Apple is doing – its not for you. Its just not for you. You can’t apply Apple lipstick to your Pig – your Pig needs to find its own style.


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