I just wrote an article about the reasons why every UI designer should do usability tests. Here’s another reason why you should test your own user interfaces: designing is editing.
In a very recent article Jordan Koschei describes how Jonathan Ive and Steve Jobs were such a great design team. Why? Because Ive would create and Jobs would edit. Since Jobs died in 2012, Apple delivered unedited design, leading to things like iOS 7 that some of us believe to be missteps.
What could Apple do to improve? What could Jony Ive do? The exact same thing, every designer could and should do: become a great editor. Test your own design and tweak it till it’s great. Not everyone can be a genius like Steve Jobs but anyone can have the benefits of user testing and produce a better design by editing it.
Editing is designing. That’s exactly the notion one may keep in mind while testing his or her own designs. Usability tests are not good for quality assurance or for getting more feel-good feedback like on Dribbble. They are not about praise, they are about the truth of how other people perceive and use (or don’t use) your interface. And as you know, the truth is sometimes hard to take.
Do your own usability tests and soon you will learn that you are not as good as you thought you were at designing usable interfaces. That’s at least what I’ve experienced lately. But when you think of usability tests as part of your editing process, it’s suddenly okay to fail.
Failing is not only okay, it becomes the acceleration of your design process. Editing your designs lets you work the exact same way, evolution does it. And that’s the best damn way of doing things that ever existed.
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