Users or no users? A state of the industry in Australia



[SIZE=12px]Hi everyone,[/SIZE]

[SIZE=12px]In my entire process of self education it was very clear that the users must be a priority. To make it successful you have to involve them (usability test, ethnographic research, rapid testing, etc) or read information about them (paper on Mendeley, statistics, customer support, etc).[/SIZE]

[SIZE=12px]Today I am seeing a lot of designers observing trends, solving problems just based on client’s feedback and their experience as a user, but in fact only a few genuine users are involved, and to be honest, that feels a bit wrong.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=12px]I know big companies here in Australia that have big UX pod and actually never did a usability test. The horrible things is that I have seen other designers taking inspiration from it. These companies are making money based on their design and designers build their portfolio with that, but deep inside it feels really strange. I am even tempted to push my reflexion by asking how good designers can be efficient when it comes to facilitate activities with real users if they actually didn’t do much with users.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=12px]I remember David Travis saying something on that matter on Udemy, I am paraphrasing; “If you want to keep designers happy, get them involve with real people.” I reckon he is right, and I am pretty sure that creativity is also fuelled by that, even if you are the best designer, you should still be involve with users. Recently I found a very good article on the Smashing Magazine’s website reflecting the situation in America, the author seems also intrigued by the state of our industry…esign-process/[/SIZE]

[SIZE=12px]New ways have emerged, these ways are making the process more flexible and less costly (Lean UX, etc).
So yes I believe that there are still ways to involve users in our craft, even on the smallest job. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=12px]I was just wondering, what if your opinion about the industry in Australia?[/SIZE]


No idea about the industry in Australia, but @UXHow spoke at the UX Strategies Summit earlier this month, and he said, “UX is user experience, not ‘use your experience’”. I think it articulates the industry quite well here in the Netherlands.


Hey Charles, welcome to the community.

I agree with you, the fact that this appears to be a bit of an emerging pattern is of concern. Angela actually discusses it at length in our latest debate. It’s here if you’re interested in having a read.


I think a lot of places (especially web design freelancers) are still getting their head around the benefits of a user-centred approach, including doing solid upfront research where required. I’d hope that people using the title ‘UX designer’ are at least following an iterative process that includes user feedback, but I know from my own experience it can take years (if ever) to fully re-align large organisations with new principles.

I’ve always thought that was just people still getting up to speed? Not them re-defining UX as “the same design process with a bigger budget just because its buzz word”. I haven’t met many user experience designers who don’t have some sort of interaction with users, or at least really try to.


Hi Lukcha,

I would be interested to understand the proportion on your side.
In your network, what is the percentage of designers that are truly involved with users, compare to the others that are still trying really hard?

My observation on that topic is that a larger percentage of designer are still trying very hard but only a few really involve users.


Hi Charles, it seems that a fairly large percentage of UX designers in my Australian social/professional network involve users somewhere in the design process. But I’m also aware of a number of people who don’t get a chance to involve real people in their design process (often due to the UX maturity of their organisation or digital agency). Maybe it’s a little but due to the way we’re introduced to UX? e.g. if people work with a specialist UX team, they’re going to have exposure to ‘real people’ in the design process, but like @lukcha said, if they’re freelancers web designers who have come across UX in the scheme of things, they may not have had a lot of opportunity to sell the benefits to their clients.


I also see some times [B]Designer[/B] / [B]Product Manager[/B] gets inspiration to implement the new feature launched by its competitors & successful. I heard many times product managers saying our competitors don’t have this feature why we should implement this, if some nice idea / suggestions comes from developer / designers.