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User-Centered Design by Travis Lowdermilk

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Chapter 8. Gathering Feedback

“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”

Bernard Mannes Baruch

It’s time to go out into the world and find out what users really think about the applications we make for them. We need to ask detailed questions and open ourselves to criticism that may be difficult to hear. We have to observe users and document our findings in order to gain an overall understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Receiving criticism is not fun. If anyone has told you they enjoy getting feedback on their work, that person is lying. Being told you missed something, made a mistake, or went in the wrong direction essentially means you’re not finished. It means you have more work to do. It means you’re not perfect.

I’m not going to tell you to enjoy criticism. I’m not going to say you should shout with glee at the thought of redesigning an application or that you should do a happy dance when you realize you’ll have to recode a complex function.

The truth is that we all want to hit a home run. We want to show our new application to users, clients, friends, and family and be told we’ve nailed it: we got everything right, we’re done, and we did it all on version 1.0.

Here’s what I will suggest: we have to learn to be tolerant of feedback. The best developers I know have a desire to get things right, no matter the consequence. Above all else (sleep, money, or ego), they want to build the best application possible. They realize that receiving honest, quality ...

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