English articles, Top Tasks, Toptaken

Assumptions anonymous and the web

“Hi, I’m Toon and I make assumptions.” Web managers ought to out themselves as addicts to assumptions every time they assume that customers do this or that customers don’t like that without having it tested or measured.

Opinion-based versus evidence-based. Evidence-based is a simple concept. We do want to build online presences evidence-based. Top tasks, performance metrics, customer-centric index, card sorts, treejack testing for information architecture, prototype testing, usability testing, A-B tests, what have you. All these methods deliver facts instead of opinions. They are all about designing the tasks. The best way forward, no need to convince us.

And still, when working in a major web redesign or when doing the footwork in a web rationalisation, every now and then it occurs to the best of us to start sentences with “I think customers are…” That’s making assumptions. That’s how opinion starts to creep in.

In our office at the big digital transformation project at the European Commission, we started to out ourselves as assumption addicts at every infringement. “Hi, I’m Toon and I make assumptions.”

Try it. It helps. It definitely changes thinking and speaking behaviour.
Within a week, we had results. Measurable results. No outings needed.


About Toon Lowette

Customer is not king on the internet, he is dictator. Online services are successful if they allow the customer to do what he came for efficiently and without confusion. Toon Lowette is online publishing consultant in the Customer Carewords network of Gerry McGovern. Task management is the central issue. We teach websites to manage the task, not the content, not the technology. We teach websites to become relentlessly customer centric.


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