DonnaM » Blog Archive » Justifying decisions

Justifying decisions

One of the hardest things when doing IA, UCD etc is justifying every decision I make. Even if I put a lot of effort into the research phase of a project, and follow a solid user-centred design process, I still end up having to argue over silly nitty gritty details.

I guess part of the problem is that even with a great process and ample time, some of my decisions are made on gut feel (James called this ‘professional experience’, and I probably should too). For example, I can’t include every piece of content from a diverse 5000 page site in a card sort. I can’t include every possible scenario in a usability evaluation. So in designing a site there are some things that I know are right, and a whole lot of things that I’m fairly confident are right, and a couple of things that I know need more work.

So, I have to choose. Do I explain every single decision and thought that I have put into creating a design, only to have the detail picked apart, or do I discuss broad concepts and ideas only to have the detail picked apart.

Hmmm… I don’t think I can win sometimes. I guess I had better do the political thing and negotiate endlessly. What a waste of time.

PS – I did one of the many personality profiles recently (you know, the ones that give you a set of letters that vaguely describe your preferences). The description of mine for what happens under stress was interesting – it indicated that when stressed I will start doubting all of my decisions and lose confidence in them ;)

One Response to “Justifying decisions”

  1. Peter Says:

    If you’re in that kindof position you should try to work your way out of it. If you can’t, go somewhere else. Negotiating and discussing is one thing (and I’m learning with the years), but endless second-guessing is stupid, and having to justify your decisions is a waste of time.

    I hope one day you can say: “Trust me to do my job or fire me now, but don’t drag me down by making me justify all my decisions.” You’d be my hero.