When I say we're a passionate bunch here, don't take it lightly. JAM, our "User Experience Queen" literally eats, drinks and breathes UXP. Here's her take on our new mascot:
There’s a Bat in My Belfry and Other User Experience Urban Legends
It’s all about the user experience. This is my mantra. Everything eventually goes back to the user experience, or so I say. Recently, some DG employees had a discussion about a Google error message, and I was made fun of for “replying to ALL” (a dangerous move at DG as you then open yourself up to both private and public ridicule from your fellow colleagues) to point out how the format of the error message was a great UXP practice. So, when the company-wide email went out about our new mascot, the DigiBAT, one of my wonderful colleagues challenged me to somehow relate that to User Experience. So here it is.
With the discovery of our bat came some urban legends (okay, okay- I am the one who propagated these falsities but it was late and I needed to amuse myself somehow) as well as some truths. Among the lies:
- the bat will jump onto your head and get all tangled up in your hair;
- he will turn into a vampire and drain you of every last drop of blood,
- he is blind,
- he has rabies
Some of the truths:
- inhaling spores created by bat guano can cause Histoplasmosis -
- he will eat bugs
How is DigiBAT related to User Experience? Like our poor little mascot, users are often mis-viewed and misunderstood. Too often, marketers buy into rumors or beliefs based upon outdated or a complete lack of actual evidence and research. For example: I walk into a client’s office and they tell me, “We know what our users and prospects want/are thinking.” Thrilled (yes, thrilled, I do get that excited about this stuff), I ask to see the data or source they got that information from only to be told, “Oh, we just know,” or “It was from a survey we did five years ago!” That’s when my poker face comes into play.
As much as you think you know about your users, as much as I think I know about your users … we don’t really know unless we’ve asked them. There are many cases where we’ve thought we knew how a certain group of users would think or act only to be completely surprised when we did some testing. In short, you don’t really ever know until you ask your actual audience.
Companies will say that they don’t have the time or budget to conduct testing, that it’s safe to move forward using some assumptions. I say, if you’re going to spend a lot of money building a web property or creating an online marketing campaign, it’s too costly not to. Getting the thoughts of your prospects/users can prevent you from making rather large and expensive mistakes AND show you what you’re doing right and where you can make improvements and optimize. Testing doesn’t always have to be in a formal lab environment with eye tracking and one-way mirrors, there are many other efficient and effective ways to capture the voice of your user. (You will, however, want to be sure that you are using a sound methodology and that it has been implemented correctly so as not to skew your results. In other words, don’t try this at home, kids. Be sure to consult a professional).
You may think you know your users, but you probably also once thought that bats fly into people’s hair or are blind or all have rabies (and if you still think that, shame on you! Plus, even if you knew those were lies about bats, it still doesn’t mean you know your users, it just means you know something about bats!). So don’t make assumptions – instead, gather some real data. The only real way to know what your users want or how they will behave is to ask.