How do you handle it when someone changes your work?


#1

I know, I’m tiring all of you with my complaining stuff. But there’s no senior person in my Team I could talk to so I will appreciate your point of view.

I took Firday off. Today we had a demo. During the demo I noticed that the buttons in the Console we’re building were moved from bottom of the page to the top. Nobody mentioned it to me. I saw it while my team mate was presenting what he’s done during the last sprint.

My first reaction was… mad. But I was mad that somebody messed with my design without my ‘permission’. Then I got to my senses and… I still felt mad. In a different way though. I feel like my decisions are undermined and I no longer have control over the UX, like I’m there just to pick colors and play with shapes. It was our boss who told developers to move the button. And they did it, no questions asked.

I was put in a situation where I am supposed to be responsible for the whole product. I’m supposed to supervise others work too. But it feels like I have nothing to say.


#2

We’re always here to listen! Part of the hard part of being UXers is that we are very often smaller teams - often teams of just one or two people. It makes finding a community and support network in other places extremely important. That’s precisely the reason I’m here so friggin’ much.

Personally, I’m always happy to listen and help how I can.

I’ve had this happen before, and like any designer it ground my gears. We’re often so close to our work that it’s hard not to take changes like this personally.

What’s even harder is to think about the problem academically in the moment. The hardest part is asking yourself if there a compelling business or design reason for moving the buttons that you might have missed.

My advice, if this happens again, is to raise your concerns in the moment. As you say, you are responsible for the whole product. You weren’t given a chance to raise your concerns in the moment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t raise them now. You are not just speaking for yourself, you are speaking for your product’s user base.

Take a quick, deep breath, raise your hand, make the observation that the buttons were moved and provide your reasoning for their original placement, which should be user-focused and supported by research or best design practices.

I would also take a moment, privately, to speak with your boss about your concerns. Again, this conversation shouldn’t be adversarial, but you do need to stand up for your work. Explain your thinking once more, emphasize that you take your duty to the product seriously, and ask to be consulted or at least made aware of design changes in the future so that you have a chance to make appropriate objections in the moment.


#3

I would also put effort into taking yourself out of it as much as possible. This should be process-oriented not personality-oriented. The point is that if major interaction changes are made without your knowledge, the UX designer can’t account for the impacts and everyone begins rolling the dice on the result.

I would also make it clear that the change in position isn’t, necessarily, in-and-of-itself a bad thing unless you have the research and background to say that it’s already been tested and moved away from. You just want to make sure that the user isn’t jarred from their experience and lost in the interface.


#4

Ugh. I feel your pain. I’m particularly bad at handling these situations. I tend to shoot from the hip and confront the situation on the spot and it doesn’t alway go well.

I love this:


#5

Nope, it’s all good.

I did edit your title though so that more people know what the topic is about. Hope that’s cool with you.

Ironically (given the topic), I’m aware that I should have checked first. :wink:


#6

Haha this time it’s fine :slight_smile: I did not take personally at all. Naming stuff is hard.

Thank you all guys for great advice. @dougcollins you really are irreplacable. We’re so grateful for having you here.

@treyroady I took your advice and put my personal feelings aside. I spoke to the developers, they clearly stated that they moved the button on request from our boss. I talked to my boss who clearly stated that he did mention that the button is not visible when he’s checking the design on a small screen but never ordered anyone to change its location. So I guess I found myself in a pretty messy situation :stuck_out_tongue:

I went to a workshop on the weekend where the Tutor said “whenever you’re giving feedback to anyone about anything, use the sandwich technique”. I’m thinking sooo hard to come up with a sandwich when talking to the guys, but I just keep wondering what kind of a clue they got to change the design. I want to understand why, but when I’m asking why I have tendency to sound patronizing, and I really need to avoid being patronizing in this team.

What would @dougcollins do?
What would @HAWK do?
What would @treyroady do?

:slight_smile:


#7

What generic sandwich techniques did they give you? Before I answer, I want to make sure we are on the same page.


#8

Positive feedback, negative feedback, positive feedback to encourage the change. But it’s not about the technique itself as it is about me being positive, polite, not focusing on bad things only or being patronizing towards my colleagues.


#9

Oh man, I’ve been using the sandwich technique forever. The thing is, it absolutely works. It forces you to change your perspective slightly by finding a couple of positive things, which generally lessens the harshness of your criticism, and it puts your “target” (for the lack of a better word) in a more positive state of mind. In this situation for the developers, a feedback situation might go something like,

I really appreciate that you were so quick to act in the spirit of improving the product for our customers! I know it’s your job to implement requested changes, but please be aware of where those changes are coming from when it comes to design elements.

In the same way you’re responsible for every line of code that goes out the door, I’m responsible for how the product ultimately looks and feels. If you get a request from anyone other than me to make a change involving design, could you do me a favor and ask if they ran it by me first? It would help me out immensely. You all are great, and I really appreciate all the hard work you put in to making our product better. Thank you so much for the help!


#10

That’s a challenge!

And it’s not a challenge any more thanks to you :slight_smile: Seriously, you should collect all good pieces of advice you are giving away on this forum and make a book out of it. I’d keep it handy at any time.

Thank you!


#11

LOL well I already have two books started, so the third may have to wait. Thanks for the idea though! At least I’ll be busy for a while :slight_smile:


#12

I’m pretty late to the party on this one but just wanted to say that’s totally understandable and we’re here for you. It’s really hard when you don’t have anyone to talk to.


#13

What Doug said.

Pretty much always what Doug says, TBH. He’s way more diplomatic than I am.


#14

I think I’m gonna become your psychofan! :stuck_out_tongue:


#15

Oh, everyone needs one of those! At least someone will buy my books when they’re finished :slight_smile:


#16

Well, I will buy one on two conditions: I want a special dedication :slight_smile: I want the book to be delivered to Poland/available to buy in Poland :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


#17

Deal.


#18

So… when it’s gonna be? :smirk:


#19

The first one I’m planning is a book on usability that mirrors the course I put together on Skillshare. A large part of it will be transcribed from the course, but I have some extra content to add. I really could knock it out in an afternoon, but I’ve just been lazy.

So… soon, I guess?


#20

Me too! I would have caused a big scene by yelling “What the f…”. Something I need to work on. Mag, you have every right to be upset, because it does not sound like there is any sound reason for moving the buttons - a significant UX change.

The problem here is, your design has been compromised, yet you will still be held to be accountable for it. Later on you may be showing it in a job interview, and you’ll get asked, “…the position of those buttons, why?”.

I think you’re on the right track here. My approach would be to pose the feedback as a question. "How has the position of the buttons improved usability? What evidence is there to support your claims? It would be great if you could A/B test it – that would be a good story to tell : )

Good luck Mag, and thank you for sharing.