Who Tests the Testers

by Richard C. Stimac

A design process.

A design process. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Testing is the backbone of UX. That’s a given. Also given: each user is unique and experience any design in a unique manner.

Yet, aren’t the very UX experts also experiencing the design of the UX design process in a unique manner?

Or in other words, if we’re all experiencing the world in our own individual ways, which is what “unique” means, then who actually knows what’s going on.

What would we see if we conducted user tests of user testers using a user testing design?

We’d better find something shared and not unique or we’d have no design at all.

Good UX design must rest on similarity and averageness. Anything else results a theoretical world trapped in subjectivity.

This may seem like a trivial point to make, but the UX world talks a rather heady game at times. Read many recent UX blogs and you’ll read about psychology, cognitive biology, ethnography, and so on. All very serious sounding. All very complicated, too.

This amorphous theoretical basis of UX may be why UX is so difficult to define, and why so many people can simply claim UX expertise.

When it all comes down to perspective, why not?

Why not what, you ask? Exactly.

UX cannot rest on any ideas of uniqueness without ending up a mish-mash of competing claims.

One may praise the marketing place of ideas exemplified by UX, but then one cannot complain when one’s own ideas are not crowned champion.