Don’t Assume, Validate.

As we gain more and more experience in building digital products, we tend to think ever so often that we already know what a good solution looks like and how people will use our design. But that’s not true. Far too often, we are assuming that things work in a certain way or that users will understand our intentions – but we’re wrong. A classic case of the Curse of Knowledge.

But, as Ida Aalen explained in a great talk at CSS Day, this often also works the other way round: Things that experts consider too hard to understand for users, actually work quite well when put to the test. Ultimately, when we base decisions on assumptions and our own experience and opinions alone, they will always be heavily biased. The only way to really know if a solution is valid is to test it.

So don’t assume that people will get how your nice carousel interface works. Test it with a prototype. Don’t assume that your API responses will be fast enough to provide a great experience. Test it with a prototype. Don’t assume that your typography is easy to read. Test it with a prototype – on real devices. Only by validating your design you will be able to tell if you’re really building the right thing.


This is the 35th post of my 100 days of writing series. You can find a list of all posts here.


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