The Word Validate Undermines UX Effectiveness

I cringe when I hear the word validate to describe the reason for doing user research, as in we have this prototype and we’re going to test it to validate it or let’s do some field studies to validate our assumptions about user journeys. Validate implies to users and stakeholders that the worthiness and correctness of the designer hypothesis has already been established and that the research is being done just as a required activity to make sure everything is fine.

This mentality primes research observers and design workshop attendees by encouraging them to look for and discuss only things that legitimize the design or deliverable and not things that are not working well. User research is not about just making sure the best research is authentic and is about looking for what works, what doesn’t work and why. User research should bring with it the expectation and plan that it’s going to impact the next thing we do, like change a design or conduct further research. The way we talk about iterating design and doing user research can help teach your team or reinforce needed UX concepts like we’re not our users and we can be shocked by them at any time. And any design or theory is a straw man that can be proven or disproven. Which word do we use?

Instead of validate, try a term like research, observe, study, learn or test or really anything that strengthens the idea that research is a catalyst for design iterations and not just a checklist item to be tolerated.

I would recommend this conference because it is the best place to gain as much knowledge as you can in short amount of time, and then they give you all the tools that you need to take back and to apply them to your everyday work. It’s given me the confidence to know that I am making the correct decisions, and this is why that user experience is important and this is why we need to apply it every day to the things that we’re working on so that our customers can get the best products from us.

At the U.S. conference, it’s not just about the training, it’s not just about the education, it’s also about uncovering opportunities for personal growth and for career growth.

The design thinking workshop was really eye opening, and immediately I had just all kinds of ideas throughout the day that I could take back and use right away. So really excited to kind of start working that into the team and everything.

There’s definitely no selling, so that was very authentic, the knowledge I’ve received so far, everything has been very insightful, very valuable and also very in depth. I think that’s the most important thing I’m looking for is the recommendations that actually work. It’s not like surface. This stuff thought like here’s the problem and here’s one example. But we actually dig really deeper into the problem and then try to figure out a solution. Not only are U.S. conferences filled with great learning and networking opportunities, but you might even get to snap a photo Jacob Nielsen himself.

Well, I recommend it to just about anyone, because I feel like when you when you come here, you’re really concentrating on the subject matter. There’s not too many distractions. And you come out, you know, feel like you’re an expert at the end of it.

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