Last week I was at the wonderful Future Insights Live conference in Las Vegas. Annoyingly as I was speaking twice (that bit wasn’t annoying, it was fun!) I missed a load of talks, but had some fantastic discussions around some particularly interesting topics.
Aral spoke about staying naïve in order to identify with a user who comes to your product afresh. It’s hard for somebody working on user experience to un-learn everything they know, but in order to create an experience that will be useful, and preferably enjoyable, for the user requires fresh eyes.
Thinking around this, I was considering another ongoing discussion that’s really been around for ages. Web vs. native, apps vs. sites. The evolution of the discussion in itself is definitely a blog post for sometime soon, but it was frequently the approaches of those involved in the conversation that made me consider the value of naïvety.
Now I’m not claiming to be objective in the argument of web vs. native, I work with the web, and therein lies my natural bias. It’s very difficult as a creator to not favour the tool that you work with the most. Both web developers and native app developers are frequently guilty of considering each new project as a nail because they’ve got a web or native hammer that’s particularly comfortable to use.
As problem solvers, we need step back from our tools of choice, often also being what will make us money, and try to objectively decide what will solve the problem most effectively and efficiently. We need a naïvety that makes us untainted by our previous experiences.
Ultimately we need to learn the separation between what are really standards and conventions that can assist the user in their learning process, and understanding our own experience that is clouding our judgment and making us expect the user to think in the same way that we do.
Being open-minded is difficult, we’re constantly faced with our own experiences on which we can base grudges, evangelism and every possible opinion in between. But this discussion on web vs. native has made me think that, whilst experience can work in our favour, we must be careful that it doesn’t work against us. Next time we’re arguing for or against a platform/approach/ideology, we need to consider whether we’re using our experience to judge or if it’s just bias.