In talking with her about this series, fellow UXer Cassie Carter presented me with the number 9 reason that your developer hates you: I’m smart, I know about the web and users, but you don’t take or make the time to listen to my ideas.
I remember back in the earlier days of my career, and still at times today, I had to have a face of stone when describing user experience and its importance. I could not crack, could not let anyone see me back down. I was the user expert, and had to prove myself as such day in and day out. Basically, I thought and was told that that no one else ever thought about the user like I did, and if I didn’t represent the user to the fullest, then no one would. Why then, would I take the time to listen to what someone else had to say about user experience? They hadn’t taken the time that I had to learn all that I knew. They were just trying to get the project done on time, or stay within scope or budget. These people could never truly come up with any purposeful comments or ideas regarding UX.
That was 5 years ago, and things have most definitely changed. It is true that most people don’t think about users and user experience the way we as UX Designers do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t think about them at all. People are more and more aware of the importance of what we do everyday, including your developers. And, keep in mind, developers are really, really, really smart people who come up with really great ideas. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be so intimidated by them. Developers scour the web day in and day out just as we do, if not more than us. Your developer is finding new trends and ideas and relating these new items to their work all the time. This makes them a fountain of knowledge from which you can pull. However, most of the time, we don’t always take the opportunity to listen to these ideas or put ourselves in positions in which we talk to our development team often enough to hear these new ideas. It’s time to open up your ears.
To bring it all together, the age where we have to think we’re the only ones that can come up with good ideas regarding experience is over, or waning very, very quickly. We, as UXDs, have been exposed. Our secret is out and other people are on to us, and that is ok! Bring your developer into brainstorming sessions or random discussions. Start to extract the knowledge that they have and use their powers for your own good. You’ll be surprised at how much more awesome the experiences you design will become.