Humbling times

It’s that time again.

Time to leave the comfy confines of the office, brave the real world and meet the most important people who work for Red Gate: our users.

With a bunch of design ideas stashed on a laptop, we venture off to learn exactly how wrong we’ve got it.  I have to admit, this is secretly my favourite part of the job, but it does require a modicum of courage to perform.  It’s not easy to sit and watch someone use a product that you think is pretty good, only to find it’s less so.  Nobody likes to be shown how bad they got it wrong – and that’s exactly the sort of risk you take when running a usability trial.

But this is a vital step in working towards usable products, and you have to be prepared to take a few humbling punches if you want to succeed.  What’s often worse, is that it’s often yourself that delivers the punch, in a scene that wouldn’t look out of place in fight club.  As you sit back and scrutinize the recording of the session, you have to give yourself a good slapping for whichever interaction design travesty you’ve unleashed on an unsuspecting user.

So as we are about to embark on a fresh set of sessions, I can’t help feel a pang of excitement as to how we’ll be able to improve our designs – I just hope the bruises fade quickly…

Auntie Mavis.