Overcoming The “Opinion” Factor

Opinions are always hard to overcome because everyone has one.

Too often design decisions are made during the course of a project that are based solely on opinions rather than the knowledge of an experienced UI design specialist and/or the results of a usability test. Unfortunately, it’s also nearly impossible to convince people to stop relying on their opinions to make good design decisions, which is exactly why you should never argue your opinion over your client’s opinion. Instead, you should purposely tee-up your discussion by coming prepared with facts.

Don’t take my word for it – take your users

The best way to tackle the “opinion” issue is by backing up your arguments with facts. For example, if a usability test concludes that 90% of the tested users did not interpret the navigation menu labeled “Help Zone” correctly, then your argument to change the name to “Tech Support” will hold a lot more water. Card sorting exercises and usability tests are a great tool for getting opinions off the table and start steering the project team towards making decisions based on facts.

These studies show…

Another tool to use to help build you case is research related to the client’s project. Often times, you can find compelling studies that have already been performed that can be used to help build your case for why a design should or should not be a certain way. For example, I recently had a client tell me they really preferred a certain cascading menu because it enabled their users to access any screen in one click. Unfortunately, the menu system design was flawed because once you clicked on a new section, the menu no longer displayed (or marked) where in the application the user was. So, I was able to present research about the importance of wayfinding and having a menu system that clearly marked where the user is at all times. As a result, the client changed their opinion.

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