Daily UX Crash Course — User Psychology: 2 of 31

In User Experience design, the way you look at a problem can make or break the quality of your work. Your own desires and experience can work against the users. So today we will learn about:

Your Perspective

(Just starting the User Psych Crash Course? start here.)


Know Thyself.

There are two things you need to be aware of, about yourself, before you can start understanding users well: 

1) You want things that don’t matter to users. 

2) You know things that don’t matter to users.

Meditate on that for a minute.



Empathy: Want what they want.

If there is one word that is over-sold in UX, it’s “empathy”. 

It is important though. It is. In general, and in UX.

But here’s a secret: unless you are a serial killer, you have empathy. If you are a serial killer, UX design may not be for you.

What we want by nature may not be what the users want. And that’s a big deal. It means your intuition about the users might be wrong!

Do research. Talk to users. Study the data. Cuddle some puppies.

When you truly understand a problem, it becomes your problem, emotionally. That’s empathy. You will feel it. A good solution will excite you. Not because you’re an emotional superhero, but because you relate to the users.

You’re one of them now.

*single tear*

Ask yourself: If you have to choose between a feature for your users or having this design in your portfolio, what will you choose? If users don’t like your design, what would probably be the reason? Have you actually tried the software, or are you just clicking “next” to get through it?


You know too much.

Designing for people who know less than you is a core part of UX.

Not people who are dumber than you. People who know less.

You know that your site gets more powerful if you customize it, but users don’t. You know that your menu categories match the teams in your company, but users don’t. And you know your prices are high because licensing fees for your content costs a lot, but users don’t.

If users don’t know, users don’t care.

And sometimes even when they do know, they don’t care! Licensing fees? That’s your problem. They can download it illegally for free. 

Ask yourself: If you didn’t read the text, would you understand? If a user only had three clicks to find what they want, would this design be your best bet? Are you judging a feature based on the time it will take to build it or the value to the user? Are you assuming they will click it just because it exists?


Ok, you seem prepared to deconstruct the mind of a user now, so tomorrow we will learn about: The 3 Whats of User Perspective.