Pitfalls of Familiarity

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonymangan/

What I have come to realize is that I have unwillingly started falling into a trap that every UX’er tries to avoid. I’m becoming too familiar with a project. This is something that people who work on internal projects must be very aware of; regularly looking to test users to help keep them thinking like actual users.

Over the years, this has not been a problem for me.  At this point in my career I have spent more time doing agency UX work than internal UX or Dev. What comes with that? A lot of experience with a lot of different projects, users, and businesses. (I wrote about this sort a thing a while back for UX Booth).  Over the past year or so, I have been working with a small startup project on the side called Hitchery. It keeps my mind sharp and working with a very different type of product. I easily forgot to stay conscious of my depth of knowledge of the mechanics of Hitchery and how someone foreign to the application perceives it.

What’s the solution? Well the first step is admitting you have a problem. The rest is easy once you can do that. Bring in users. Watch them use the product. Ask them the elementary questions that seem obvious to you at this point.