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As a front-end developer with big interest in UX Design ...

I've read many articles and good books about UX. I'm confused about something that appears to be a major part of UX philosophy:

You are not the user (I understand that), design for the user
... studies show that we are different

If we are so different why do we need to do user interviews, surveys, etc to understand our potential users? We already know that they are all different.

Does it mean that there is a standard [ design / color palette / shapes / forms ] to put on our design, and that will be good for most users?

I really believe that UX design is more important that developing interfaces. But there is some ideas I do not understand well.

  • I'm gonna pick on a tiny part of your question. UX Designers don't trust interviews, and trust surveys even less, because these involve self reporting. They're a lot less accurate than other research methods like one-on-one contextual observations and shadowing. If you're serious about UX Design, you gotta get away from your desk. Good luck! – Ken Mohnkern May 23 '17 at 13:08
  • surveys meh but one on one interviews you can avoid that bias by being sensible with your questions. Never has self reporting issues with interviews. Ethnographic FTW BTW – colmcq May 23 '17 at 13:10
  • You can still remain empathetic to your users. You have to design as if you're in their shoes, but that doesn't necessarily mean you don't know what's best for them. – Majo0od May 24 '17 at 12:20
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A good experience is tailored to accommodate specific user needs and surveys, for example, help uncover these needs. While your users are different individuals, you can segment most of them into groups with shared characteristics. You can't make a good experience if you cater to everyone because the focus will be all over the place, helping no one in the end. You need to choose which groups are the most important to achieve your goals. These groups will then be 'prioritised' in terms of how well the design needs to help each group. Emphasize the core audience's experience, but make it still usable for people that aren't part of this group.

UX is about understanding your user. Yes, individually users are different, but people in general still display shared group behaviours. UX is about using these specific behaviours to craft an experience that helps both your user AND your business to achieve their separate goals.

  • Thank you Wendy, it means that the challenge, is to know which group is waiting for something to achieve (using my design), and this achievement could be usefull (and provides good experience) for other groups (that basically are different with this "good" group) ? – Sushi May 23 '17 at 10:00
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    Yes, usually your business goals and products determine what kind of target audience you will attract/want. For example, I'm currently working on an insurance website for businesses. This means my target audience is already limited to business owners in specific branches. Since the product is not something you just go out and buy on a whim, my UX is mainly focused on removing uncertainty, providing clear navigation and personal touches (e.g. push contact options). However, non-business owners can also browse this site, like press or future entrepeneurs. I accomodate them as well, but less. – Wanda May 23 '17 at 10:12
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You're misunderstanding the point. It's not that all users are different but that users share some common traits and research groups these into behaviours.

If we know how a class of user behaves then we can legislate designs around them. And research is the only way to find out!

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