I'm a developer transitioning towards design/usability.

I'm giving a talk to the devs at my workplace on design basics and guidelines with a little sneaky UX teaching on the side.

My goal is to work toward establishing myself as 'the expert' in my organization, getting more design work thrown my way, all with the end goal of gaining experience in all things UX.

My question: is there a compelling video resource that succinctly demonstrates that yes, usability problems really to occur to users resulting in experiences where features of the interface are rendered unusable?

I want them to gain an appreciation of usability and user testing.

I know Krug has a video on youtube teaching user testing, however its 20 minutes long and more focussed on teaching his technique.

I'm aware that the obvious answer is 'just do some user testing on your application' however this is difficult for me as no budget and target users are difficult to obtain.

  • It's funny, because I'm in exactly the same situation as you are, I'm basing my talk to devs in the material shown in my answer: ux.stackexchange.com/a/29605/13689 see minute: 5:50 on... :)
    – edgarator
    Commented Nov 26, 2012 at 23:46
  • Perhaps more information-design centric than UX-centric, but Edward Tufte has some notable examples of 'design gone wrong' including the Challenger Shuttle disaster.
    – DA01
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 4:26
  • Wow. Thanks so much to everyone for all the input. I'm gonna take some time to digest all the answers.
    – mieze
    Commented Nov 28, 2012 at 10:21

4 Answers 4


Let them experience it themselves by giving them two programs / devices and ask them to perform the same task on either.

If you can find a Symbian smartphone, I would use that and an Android / iPhone and then give them a few basic tasks to complete on them.

When they experience it, they will remember it better than any video.

  • +1 for the suggestion of finding a Smartphone running Symbian, that'll be all they need! :) Commented Nov 26, 2012 at 22:54

This is a very interesting TED Video that talks about Design

Timothy Prestero: Design for people, not awards

I think that the beauty is that it allows you to think about User Centered Design everywhere you go, when you get the car to work, when you go to a the checkout of a restaurant or when play with your phone.

In my opinion, you need to teach people to think about end users while coding. You need to focus in minimizing the chance of error and making an streamlined experience. Design is not necessarily about making things pretty, but usable as well.

Forrester Research has this article on Best Practices in User Experience (UX) Design and one of the first things it talk about is how:

Great [...] User Experiences are Useful, Usable and Desirable


  • Useful: [Users] can accomplish their goals
  • Usable: [Users] can easily perform tasks
  • Desirable: [Users] enjoy their experience

Conveying the need to become the user and feel the problem while designing, is one of how the User Experience Designer as a Leader gains its strength.

The TED video mentioned above, talks about mainly the top two.

Last but not least, there's some material here about a practice/philosophy called Design Thinking

Introduction to Design Thinking by Mike Krieger (Instagram)

Which might guide the discussion somewhere useful.

You'd see that when it comes about User Experience Design, software is not its sole domain, but rather one of its many applications. You need to make people think as designers and problem solvers that think before acting and pursue aesthetics as functionality seamlessly.

Summarizing (and hoping this is enough to get you started)


Include them in your research. Even if they're just doing work at their desk while listening to you conference call someone for an interview, that's progress. You can run a usability test on a laptop at a coffee-shop and just buy them a $5 gift certificate or chocolate bar. In general, including builders in your research is the best UX business strategy.

The next step would be personas.


I am sorry to say this but no video or resource is going to really convince people about the importance of usablity testing. The most effective way would be to try an explain the importance of usablity testing to developers in their own language

You can do it by using a combination of the methods below or one of the methods:

  • Take an existing project which went over schedule due to requirement changes or cases where the user issues were not well understood. Highlight how the lack of understanding the user group and understanding the issues faced by users increased the number of bugs and the effort involved in fixed those errors. Use that platform to highlight how usability testing could have detected those changed requirements or issues in the initial prototyping stage and helped in reducing the number of man hours needed to fix the issue. Be sure to call out that usability testing is a not an expensive process and can be done using simple wire frames and prototypes

  • Remind them that the developers are not the final users of their application and all the shortcuts they know to get a task done in site will not be obvious to their users. Hence its important that they understand that users will face issues in understanding their application.

  • Explain that integrating usability testing into the development process can be done well without much effort. While highlighting this ensure you cover the following aspects

    • How can a user experience focus be integrated into the process without changes to the time line and the budget (reading up on Lean UX will help)
    • What are the baby steps You need to take to take your current process forward so that you can quickly bring about a user experience focus in the design methodologies

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