Dev team does not count usability findings


Guys I have a question…

I’m working on a startup about 2 months
This startup build a platform about learning watersports faster and better. The development team, showed me the device which is giving voice instructions
But the voice its just terrible! A robotic gps-like voice and from the first moment I was negative about that
So I conducted an interview with usability test (with representative users) and ALL of the users told me that the voice is terrible!
Keep in mind that my questions wasn’t leading questions at all! Users told me about that by them selfs
Now… The business insist to use this robotic voice by saying “this is technology, we can’t to anything”

My perspective is that if we didn’t give value to our users, the startup will fail

The comments of users were like “No, i didn’t use that device”, “I would give a dollar for that” etc…
I’m thinking if I have to quite my job. The business even after the usability test insist on “this is technology for now”… What am I suppose to do?
Thanks in advance!


Your post strikes me as very emotionally invested. My first piece of advice would be to take a step back for a moment and look at the problem from a different perspective.

Sure, the voice may sound ugly - but as UX professionals, our responsibility is not to the aesthetic beauty of a project. Rather, our responsibility is to ensure that a project efficiently serves its intended purpose.

In a situation like this, you need to take the qualitative judgements out of the equation for a moment and ask a few questions.

1.) Does the voice prohibit people from efficiently completing their tasks?
2.) Does the voice affect the number of users who would use or buy your product?
3.) Does the voice affect the length of time someone would use the product?

If you’ve answered “no” to all of these questions, the chances are very high that you do not have a UX problem.

This is the important distinction between UX and UI work, and what sets us apart from visual designers in general. A UX professional, at their core, should care less about style and more about function and efficiency. For us, the point at which aesthetics matter is when it begins to affect usability.

If there is no affect on usability, there may be an aesthetic issue, but not one that needs to be addressed from our perspective.

From what you’ve told me so far, none of these seem to be the case - or at least you didn’t test for them. It sounds like you may need to do some additional testing to see what effect - if any - the voice is having on usability.

If you discover there is an effect on usability, you need to ask a few additional questions before pushing for a change.

4.) Does the technology exist to support other voice choices?
5.) Does the budget exist to implement the changes?
6.) Does the bandwidth exist to work on the changes?

If you answer “no” to any of these questions, you’re done. Pack it up. Walk away until the situation changes.

From the information you’ve provided, it sounds like you may have a “no” that you haven’t uncovered to one of these three questions. The type of pushback you describe is very common in these situations, and I’d encourage you to do more digging on these three questions before you jump back into more testing.

As a startup, I think it’s important to remember that your company is likely building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The truth about MVPs is that while almost nothing about them is ideal, a successful MVP identifies the most important areas for future product improvement while also allowing the user to accomplish their task.

Your role in all of this is to identify what those areas for improvement are, so that the business side of things can work on prioritizing those requirements with other business demands. You won’t get everything you want, and this is a great example of that.


Thank you so much for your time!

My interviews were based on those three questions you just sayed
1.) Does the voice prohibit people from efficiently completing their tasks?
2.) Does the voice affect the number of users who would use or buy your product?
3.) Does the voice affect the length of time someone would use the product?

Before the usage of the product, specifically I asked users:
How you believe that this product could help you?
Why you believe someone would use such a product?
Would you trust it? [why/why not?]
What do you think could make people not use this product?
Does it remind you any similar product?
Would you use it?
ALL participants, responded very positively to all questions and they were pretty excited about the product.

But after (and during) the usage of the product, problems emerge from so different perspectives!
They told me things like “can you stop it please?”, “the voice is like my son’s cars, turn left, turn right, Jesus”, “if I were in the sea, I would dropped it of my hand” etc

Specifically, the questions after usage were:

What was the most attractive piece of the product? You feel impressed about something?
Which was the hardest part of the product?
Was there something unexpected? you did not expect it? [follow up: is this for good or bad?]
Was it what you expected? What’s different from what you had in mind?
Is there anything missing from the product and expecting to see it?
will you still use it? --> the 75% of the users answered NO

75% of the participants said they would not use it. I wish I could share the recordings, in order to see the “transformation” of the users expectations and satisfaction…

I really agree with you, the purpose of the MVP is to identify the viability of the product…

About your questions
4.) Does the technology exist to support other voice choices?
5.) Does the budget exist to implement the changes?
6.) Does the bandwidth exist to work on the changes?

It’s the reason I wrote that post, I’m trying to convince the team to continue digging and not to push all the team to a solution…

I really appreciate the help and for sure I’ll take a step back :relieved:


Probably not what anyone wants to hear.

Did you ask why? What were the responses?

Is one of the problems, then, that you don’t know the answer to your questions, or your team doesn’t know the answer to these questions?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, start looking now. If your team doesn’t know the answer to these questions, I’d be more concerned. You need to be able to answer yes to questions 4, 5, AND 6 before you can make a UX change for anything less than a show-stopping issue.


Hello @dougcollins , I’m really thankful about the fact you giving me so much useful instructions-info

75% of the participants said they would not use it

Yes I asked them why…

The most frequent pattern was: “I want someone to calm me down when I’m on the water. A robot-like voice makes me more anxious!”… and “I wonder if this voice could be hearable at the water with 12 knots… + I don’t like the robot-like voice”

Now, about the 4,5,6 questions, I don’t now the answers, but the dev team does not know the answers to, they constantly telling me “this is the voice”, we couldn’t do anything about that, although, after the first usability test, they changed the voice to a more human-like, but it didn’t work again.

We arranged a meeting tomorrow to discuss my findings and see what will happen. At this time, I could say that 50% of the entire team is with me, and 50% has a different opinion…

Yes, I’m looking answers about those questions. I just want to validate/falsify, if this MVP can be supported by the current technology…

Thanks again for your detailed answers. Thanks a milion


You’re welcome!

Good luck getting through the team. Let me know how it works out, will you?


Hello hello!

After a meeting with all stakeholders -including angel investors of the startup-, I saw a great change on the attitude about my opinion. I presented them all my finding through realtimeboard and I told them all my concerns.

I have to say that 3 before the meeting, I talked with the guy who brought me to the team and told him that if the culture of the team isn’t to appreciate user’s feedback, then I have no place here…

During the meeting, I speak on behalf of our users, and all my opinions were based on my research. Before the meeting, the dev team searched for a viable solution on new, more human-like voice. I heard the voice and I could say that’s ok, not perfect but definitely much better than the previous one. So the dev team presented me the solution and I started to see a change on their mood, from “this is the current technology” to “we searched for a new solution”, and that’s a beginning.

I also had great support from our marketing advisors, who both of them told me that I did a great work and they see my passion on that.

I wanted an agreement from all stakeholders about what to do next and how will our decision making affect by the new insights. All of the stakeholders agreed to continue my research (the next step is field visits). They started to see how vital is it for the success of the product.

I could say that I am happy, even though I want to see the voice we will use on the final product.

I want to thank one more time @dougcollins, @Piper_Wilson and @charles for the great help you gave me guys!

I believe that my case has a lot of value to new comers, so I could give a feedback here from time to time if you believe it could useful.


One of the great things about UXMastery is the wide range of experiences our contributors offer. Please, absolutely, always, give feedback. That’s what we are all here for.


I think that I’m going to save this one back in my mind as a case about rationality. I think it’ll be useful as a case for quite awhile.