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English articles, Top Tasks

Evidence shuts opinion up – a relieve to many

Evidence-based web design not only delivers better user experience, it is often a relieve to many in the organisation as well. Indeed, with evidence about customer behaviour there is no need for all the opinions many an internal stakeholder or manager imposes on the web team.

For many web team members, it is close to sheer luxury that they can ‘hide’ behind measured facts and test results. Sometimes, this is very visible and audible at management meetings.

As a consultant, I can guess but never really know the delicacies of internal politics. However, I can be sure that there is more to it than superficial talk when someone after the presentation of top task results says to the rest of the top management in the room: “No-one in this room should ever again refer to ‘the general public’ now that we have evidence that professionals are our main audience.”

Evidence prevents opinion from playing the most important role. “There is no worse way to design a website than with five smart people in a room drinking lattes,” Gerry McGovern says. Opinion kills customer experience. Opinion kills task-driven design. Opinion serves the already opinionated.

And so it happens, every now and then, that the web team or managers or even the CEO are relieved to be able to refer to the facts, to the evidence from customer surveys, from testing task performance or navigation or link quality, from understanding customer profiles.

Evidence shuts opinion up, and many in the organisation like that.

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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