How to Keep Project Stakeholders from Ruining Good Design
You’ve just spent months of blood, sweat and tears designing UX for a website or application. You've done your research, scrutinized every detail of the design and usability-tested the crap out of it. Your work is flawless and you are on top of the world. Then the project stakeholder takes out their red pen. Slowly and methodically they butcher your design. Soon it is unrecognizable. You stand there in silence, knocked off your pedestal, resisting the temptation to say what you think of their so-called “improvements". Unfortunately, you know that this is not a fight you are going to win. In order to avoid conflict, you choose to swallow your pride and retreat into the shadows of lost UX battle.
I’ve heard this story many times over but could never relate to it until recently when, lo and behold, it happened to me. I witnessed firsthand the result of stakeholders dismantling my company’s hard work in their attempt to improve it or mold it to their personal expectations. After addressing this with them, I realized just how big this issue is. They had no idea what problems they were creating. They didn't understand that they were contributing to their website failing.
In an attempt to bridge the gap between what stakeholders expect and what users need, I decided to write an open letter, which was published in Forbes. This letter is addressed to all professionals who think they are improving UX with their red pen when, in reality, they are killing good design. Please share the following letter with your project's stakeholders! I am hoping it will help save the world, one good design at a time.