Many times I tried to give UX advice to my boss and reporting manager and it gets discarded. Few of the times, I have built screens based on my UX understanding, and later asked to change that, which I think clearly violates UX principals.

How do I convey my UX message OR stay dumb lowering my ire?


  1. Been asked to put a yellow color button/link, just to grab user attention. (for an action-bar with few other buttons with BootStrap styles)
  2. Been asked to place one button in center and another on left of the dialog-footer.

(I am a NOT a UX engineer, but have read few UX articles and some ux.stackexchange.com answers. If I had some formal certificate in UX, this question wouldn't be there.)

  • Have you tried any formal usability tests to see how easily users can complete tasks with the proposed layouts? Or have you tried releasing two layouts (A/B testing) to see which one leads to more clicks on the button or link? – Graham Herrli Mar 30 '14 at 16:57
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    Many bosses just want data. They don't necessarily care where it comes from, or if it's properly analyzed, but they want numbers. Give them numbers. User testing is a good place to get some. – DA01 Mar 30 '14 at 18:21
  • Some people in leadership positions don't feel like they are adding value when they don't find anything to change. A possible (but risky) strategy is to add something completely outrageous to your design just for them to pick it for removal. – Philipp Mar 31 '14 at 9:46

There are a couple of tricks that sometimes (not always!) work for me:

  • Be mindful of how you present items for review. Presenting static screens and saying "What do you think?" is going to get you lots of opinions. Make sure you are showing your design in context by walking the reviewers through it.

  • Invite key stakeholders to observe usability tests. This way they can see it working (or see their suggestion not working even) for themselves.

  • Present alternatives. This lets people give their feedback and express preferences, but between several design that you've prepared and are comfortable with.
  • Ask follow up questions about feedback. Why is it important for it to be yellow? Why is it important to be noticeable? Why does the button have to be there? Ask in a clarifying, concerned way, not a challenging one. Find out what the stakeholders interests are, then take their suggestion and mock it up. But also mock up several alternatives that you think work better, and show them what they asked for alongside with some more alternatives.

It's important to understand where the stakeholder's subjective feedback is coming from. Sometimes reviewers just need to express an opinion (giving them alternatives is one way to allow them that) but often it is rooted in some valid underlying requirement. But it's often easier to express requirements in terms of new functional specifications. Let it be your challenge to dig and find that underlying requirement.

But to reiterate, whenever you take feedback and come back with alternatives, always also bring a mockup of exactly what they asked for. If you don't, your stakeholder will feel ignored and not be open to new suggestions.

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    Good list! I would add: even though stakeholders will often want to cut to the conclusion (deliverables) it is important to take them through the design process. Even if it is just roughly. When they see what problems and decisions you faced and how you dealt with them you usually get more appreciation and understanding. And in turn less nitpicking. With feedback on details I tend to ask why and why again and then sum up the overarching problem that underlies their feedback. Have them confirm it and then on a next meeting explain how I addressed the problem they brought up. – Koert van Kleef Jul 22 '17 at 13:34

If UX is done well then it's not about subjective views but is as objective as possible. To be realistic no matter how experienced you are you will always come across those who you are working with who prefer their opinion to yours or even those of the users you have talked to.

It also stands that the more 'obvious' something is the more it is discussed and the more likely someone is to have an opinion about it, this is called 'Bikeshedding' or 'the wrong colour blue' syndrome as I call it.

One trick is to provide something obviously wrong for your audience to notice and correct. I call it a trick as ideally your team are working together in a way that tricks aren't needed - but they'll always be a creative director or product manager with big character who will want their ideas in place.

That is not to say that the person responsible for the UX is somehow gifted with magical powers and will get things right all the time, to be honest the best UX person will be lucky to get a 50% hit rate. That is why it is vital to research and test what we build. And if you get other people to observe these sessions then there's less chance of subjectivity spoiling things.

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  • Spot on with that first and last two lines. UX can be far more objective than it now often is, when effort is put into solid research. – Koert van Kleef Jul 22 '17 at 13:39

You don't need to have a formal UX education to have good instincts about what good UX is. You just need to stick to your guns and fight for what you believe. Not everyone is going to agree with you all the time, no matter how good you are, but you have to present your case in a logical, data-driven way. You have to be confident in your knowledge, if you're not, read some more books until you become confident.

You can't say "That button shouldn't be yellow because yellow is ugly." You have to say "I don't think that making the button yellow is a great solution because it might have the opposite effect. Sometimes a difference in color can make a button stand out more, but if it looks too different people can miss it altogether. But I'm assuming you don't think it stands out enough, so let me give it another go and see if we can solve that."

Sometimes people who aren't schooled in design or UX ask for something specific like "I want to make it flash" but what they are really asking for (and what you have to learn to decipher) is to make that stand out more. They know that it's not standing out enough, but they don't know how to express that or explain what they think is wrong, so they come back with a consistently horrible solution. You just have to figure out what they're trying to accomplish.

I'm pretty good at handling these types of situations, it's kind of my thing. It just takes patience (you have to dig for answers), and focus.

All that being said, sometimes its not going to fly and you're going to do have to do what he says. It's happened to all of us at some point, you can either deal with it or find another place to work. I had this problem at my last job, so I left and found a place where they love my input and have a strong desire for good UX and I've never been happier.

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