Monthly Archives: July 2010

The UX Ego – Non-violent Communication

Many times, I find that User Experience professionals have to debate and argue over their design decisions. They have to take full responsibility for mistakes or failures, and will do everything in their power to justify their actions. Whether they are designing an interface, a system, or the tasks for a usability study, they have to be able to defend why they made all the decisions they made.

What is interesting to me is how this debating permeates into other parts of the job. We find ourselves debating over why we scheduled a meeting, or over what the project plan will be. We are constantly in a state of debate, argument, and justification.

I find being in this state exhausting, ineffective, and inefficient. It is much like the “design by committee” situation, where there are too many stakeholders involved, and too many opinions to manage. I think a much more powerful way to approach issues, problems, or decisions is to bring understanding, and an ability to express ideals. Instead of fighting over what is the best approach, we really need to understand what the rationale is behind each others’ thoughts. Everyone’s thoughts are valuable, good, important, and deserve recognition. We may have this intention, but it certainly doesn’t come off this way.

We are all in this together, all fighting for the best for the user. We just need to play nicer with each other, encourage each other, and try to understand where each other is coming from. How do we do this? Well I think the message of non-violence might help us take a new perspective: