December 7th, 2011
Over at the User Interface Conference LinkedIn Group (which you should join, as we’re having lots of interesting conversations over there), a discussion popped up about Lean UX. In the discussion, one group member, Lorena, posted what she’d been doing, which sounded a lot like what I’ve heard folks are doing in Lean UX.
She concluded her post with this comment:
I’ve grown tired of people taking common sense, labeling it and then trying to christen it as a new process.
What jumped out at me was her implication that, just because it’s something she’s been doing, it must be common sense. I’ve heard this sort of thinking a lot. I guess it depends on the definition of common sense that you’re using.
There are two definitions I can see here:
- Common sense is what I know to be true and how I judge the world.
- Common sense is what is most commonly believed to be true and how most people judge the world.
These two definitions can only be simultaneously true if I believe the same things as the majority of people out there. Otherwise, they are in conflict.
Now, I’m at an interesting vantage point. As a researcher, I study what people believe. One area I study is what designers believe, particularly about creating great designs.
What I’ve learned in my research is that there are lots of different beliefs out there. Finding a majority belief is rare. And often, when we do, it’s not something that makes for the best designs.
Many folks are looking at Lean UX right now and saying what Lorena is saying: “It’s something I’ve been doing for years. What’s the big deal? Why do we have to give it a special name?”
But it’s not something the majority of teams I study are doing. Most are doing something more waterfall-ish, even when working in an Agile or Agile-ish environment. To them, this thinking is new. It’s novel. And it’s certainly not, from their perspective, common sense.
There’s an old saying: “There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.”
I’m wondering if we play the “it’s just common sense” a little too quickly and if that hurts our work.Tweet