You never know, you know

You should always get people outside your project or product to review your work. They’ll ask things you haven’t thought about. And question things you take for granted.

A question I got asked recently surprised me.

It was after talking through a change we made to the live service.

We had gone from a long list of exceptions to an easier to navigate set of headings and content.

We had tested the change. And had 40 users (from the age of 13) go through the work with changes here and there.

We had seen improved understanding. And created an easier reading experience.

The question asked was “how do you know you’ve tested with enough users?”

The implication seemed to be that we hadn’t tested with enough users to “really know” before going live.

But you never will.

You will never know that a change is the right one. And you will never know how something will really work when live.

You can be confident in your hypothesis, your change.

You can do things to increase this confidence. And how likely you feel you’ll get something right.

Like testing in realistic context and with a range of users with different abilities and understanding.

When reviewing changes this is actually a great question to ask yourselves:

How likely is it this change will solve [the problem]?

You can also frame your research around the change to make clear what things would increase your confidence:

We’ll be more confident in this change when we see users understand that their data can still be shared in certain situations

When you change your service. You’ll never know. So, you keep listening, keep learning and change when you need to.

That is agile. That is design.

As a designer your job is to navigate that uncertainty. But you never know, you know.

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