August 30, 2004

Usability Quote of the Day

"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding."
- Kahlil Gibran

This quote reminds me of facilitating usability tests. Often, the frustration and struggle that users go through is very evident, but that "pain" often is a powerful catalyst for opening up the understanding of the design team, business, or organization conducting the tests. I often have to remind myself that in a usability test, the few suffer to prevent the suffering of the many.

Of course, watching your "baby" you designed fail and frustrate users is painful for the design team...but those teams that subject themselves to that pain suddenly find they have new, tremendous understanding and empathy which refuels their desire to create something compelling and satisfying. The shared "pain" of observing usability tests can help a team gel and focus around critical design issues.

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