Don’t create features for yourself.

Creating features based on a personal preference is wrong

On almost every development team meeting somebody brings a new idea about how to ‘improve’ already adopted feature set.

Naturally, every person involved in the project development has her own opinion about how the things should work on a web site. Most of the time, it’s based on her personal taste and preference. That’s wrong. That is not user-centered design.

You are not creating a feature set for yourself, you are creating it for a thousands of users you’ve never met… and if you are serious about the web site, that’s a millions of users you’ve never met. Always keep in mind: You are not a typical user of a web site you are developing.

First person view, third person view

If you are usually explaining a feature by I would never use this feature… or If I would like to do something on this page… (note the I pronoun), it’s a good sign you’re thinking of yourself, not the users.

Creating personas is a good way to start asking What would Janet, the office manager, like to accomplish on this web site? or How would James, the insurance agent, use this feature?. This way, you are focusing on users, not yourself.


Marko Dugonjić is a designer specialized in user experience design, web typography and web standards. He runs a nanoscale user interface studio Creative Nights and organizes FFWD.PRO, a micro-conference and workshops for web professionals.

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