We just completed some card sort and tree test exercises.

One of our main nav labels was clearly more successful when using the label most commonly suggested by our study participants (which were actual customers).

After presenting the findings to the stakeholders, the CEO felt that the label was "tired and dated" and wants the product to feel more advanced. I attempted to explain that the goal of navigation is to help lower barriers towards completing a task. If this is how customers think, we should follow their intuition.

The CEO, suggested that people would get used to the label after using the product a few times and suggested leaving it with the more "marketable" label and gathering some qualitative feedback from testers later down the road to see if it's an issue.

The CEO's goal is to have good marketability, be unique, and feel innovative.

I got them to agree to running another test to see if the results change, but I feel like the CEO will still have the same argument.

Is there a good counter argument for this position?

2 Answers 2


This is a new / very old controversy that affects everyone who deal within a creative world.

A - Should the creative person "create" new reading orders to impress clients and must they adapt to this new coding?


B - The creative person must abstain from what is usually used in communication and adapt all the work based on these existing canons

In other words:

A - Should we innovate


B - Should we interpret

Seen from the creativity point of view, it's logical that point one is the appropriate. Seen from a practical perspective, the second option is the one that sells the most. This adapts to absolutely all fields where there's an emitter and a receiver.

A and B are two different philosophies, that of the CEO of your company and yours, and unfortunately their merger has no solution. Although there may be some clues about how something productive can be generated.

For example:

1 - The magnitude of the company. Large multinationals are constantly on the lookout for new message codes to the consumers. They base their innovation on the fact that they already have a millionaire number of users who hardly will leave the product due to failed interactivity.

2 - The time. If the company seeks or needs immediate results, I would not opt ​​for something revolutionary innovative, rather I would play it safe. If over time you regain some margin, you can study the creative / innovative option

3 - The objective. What's the intention of the product, is it something new, is it an update, is it a product that doesn't exist in the market? In this case, product innovation can be accompanied by an innovative message. If it's something that already exists that presents a simple facelift, the adaptability option is the one that counts the best.

4 - The user. If the user is someone who knows how to adapt well to changes and may even ask for them, usually young people, innovation is an added motivation. If, on the other hand, the type of user is more practical and conservative, any type of modification generates uncertainty.

I am sure that there are at least three or four more, I only list the most important ones. In summary and answering your question:

–Is there a good counter argument for the interpretative position? -:

  • Magnitude of the company, objectives, immediacy or time, type of user.

If you plan some answers to each of these four points, you will have more than enough arguments to debate with your CEO.

Anyway, as in many aspects of life in general, it's all about finding a good balance. Based on my experience, I'm sure you will find a half-way option between what the CEO wants and your proposal.

BTW, I don't think it's a UX question, it's more about marketing.

  • 1
    Thank you for the thoughtful response. For some additional context around the situation. 1. We are below 50 employees. The product is low cost and has a pretty high churn rate. 2. (I think this response was somewhat lost in translation. Can you explain again?) 3. Time is not a current limitation. 4. The product is an update. Improved experience and some additional features. 5. The users are mostly small business owners so they lean towards the practical approach.
    – Rohrski
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 21:00
  • Forget about the budget, I was thinking about an external worker who makes this stuff for the company. Anyway, with my points and your answers in this comment you have arguments enough to deal with your team and find a solution.
    – Danielillo
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 21:49

In an organisation with very high UX maturity, there wouldn't be a battle between UX and Marketing because at the end of the day it is about delivering the most fit-for-purpose outcomes to the customers.

Whether you like it or not, people are unconsciously biased towards Marketing views because that's the department with the deeper pockets and bigger budgets, whereas it is important to make decisions based on objective and actionable information.

When it comes to product perception and expectations, the Marketing people are responsible for setting these views for the customer. However, it is the responsibility of the UX designers to deliver on these visions. So any disagreement between the two areas of business ultimately results in customer expectations not met and therefore a poor user experience.

I would argue that in your case it is probably better to get customers comfortable with a product first before making changes/improvements (especially if it is a new product in the market) because you can throw plenty of studies to show that new customers have very little patience or tolerance to things that don't work. Once you built up the customer base and understand their behaviour better, it makes more sense to make improvements to enhance the reputation or marketability of the product (and not before unless you want to lose a lot of potential customers in the process).

Of course, the other way is to learn the usual way by going against what the evidence might suggest and spend more time and effort to correct things. But that's not to say it isn't a way forward because you might get more buy-in from the CEO in the future.

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