Serious question. If we're all stupid and don't actually know if what we're doing is a good solution, why does the world need designers all? Why don't we just crowdsource all design using statistics so it can appeal to the greatest number of people? Or why don't we just input blue, flat, horizontal nav into a computer and have it generate templates for us?
Here's another question. Why don't all restaurants located in the US exclusively sell hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken tenders? If we were to look at user data, these are the most universally liked foods in our population.
I think this article takes a good thought (ie. You should test your work in the real world) to an extreme.
That perspective is not what I took away from the article. I didn't think it was extreme at all. Rather, I thought it argued that the curse of knowledge explains the article's title.
One thing I would add to this article is "there is no average user." Perhaps that is what you are indicating via your examples? Having no average user means more user testing is required; you want to identify a primary user and cater to their needs.
Anyway... I didn't take the article as a challenge to graphic design or designers at all.
Because designers can do a good visual solution ONLY when they have data that proof their design solution. Remember, design is a solution for a set of problems, not the inverse.
When there is data that hold proof to the perfect design solution, I ask my question again, why do we need designers at all?
Any high school kid can learn how to use the tools. If data holds the answers to the perfect design solution (ie. like a recipe), why don't we just hand the recipe to a high schooler or third world technician and pay him/her minimum wage to cook it?
I see no need for designers under this definition. I'm sure the rest of the business world will start to agree the more we continue to push this idea.
Here's the truth once we step out of the haze of "big data" tech-world hype: it's impossible to ever come up with the proper data required to validate every little design decision you've made. And if it were possible, it would incur absurd costs.
Sometimes you have to lean on the taste, skills, experience, and talents you have as a designer. It's why the economy has deemed us still worth paying money to. I'd suggest we do a better job publicizing that aspect of our jobs before we find ourselves out of one.
You need designers the same reason you need people who can write create copy, the same reason you need leaders to drive teams: it is an application of expertise.
I see no reference to 'big data' nor anything in the article to suggest designers aren't needed. I've read much more strongly worded articles about designers' roles here, but this linked piece doesn't tread any of that ground.
I wonder if you are taking this article too personally. There's nothing wrong with checking your work with others to determine whether the intent of communication was received. I wouldn't want an article submission of mine to be a one draft version with no proofing or review by another person. Nor would I expect a web design I came up with all by myself to withstand scrutiny from the 'real world'
I'll end it here as I don't think there will be any point in trying to elaborate our perspectives.
User testing is silly. The sample size is usually minuscule and doesn't come close to representing the average user. If you really champion empathy, designing intuitive solutions should come naturally.
That's a very sweeping statement.
Yeah, sample sizes are usually minuscule because user testing is expensive. You need to either cash in or have dedicated researchers.
But it doesn't make it any less useful. ANY conversation you can have with your customers is immensely more valuable than anything else you can do for your business. User testing is a way to do just that.
Empathy will take you so far. We all make tons of assumptions along the way and you just have to validate your claims at some point. There's just no other way forward.
If you really champion empathy, you get off your high horse and start doing user testing & conducting interviews to get to know your customers.
I'd argue that your "intuitive solutions" are possibly the whole purpose of this article. What are these solutions? Do your solutions make sense to others? You can run through iterations of a design and it still doesn't make sense. This comes down to understanding who is using your product. The solution is relative to the product and the product's user, not to the designer.