Who do we really design for?

We are designers and developers. While sitting down at our laptops, desktops and tablets, we cram our blood, sweat and tears into our work. We listen to our clients yack in our ears and tear that work apart because the “Logo is too small”, or “That isn’t the right shade of cornflower blue.”

I have a simple question. Who do we really work for?

For our bosses I suppose, or the client who pays us to do what we are most passionate about. I’m going to tell you right now, that presumption is wrong. UIs aren’t used by our clients every day. Our bosses don’t try to use our work to find the closest coffee shop or get that amazing pair of shoes that we can’t find in our city.

Our focus shouldn’t be on the payday, or making our bosses happy. Our focus has been misguided by budgets and deadlines. We build websites for the viewers. I think to a certain extent we, as an industry, have forgotten that. Granted, I am not saying that we should not care about deadlines and budgets. They impact our work greatly. What I am saying is that we need to remember the regular user when we are planning which route to go down to solve a problem. The quickest and easiest may not be the best thing for the end user.

We really build websites so kids can keep up with the newest minecraft mods. We build and design applications for moms so they can plan meals for their families. We build interfaces so a guy in a bar with a pretty girl can keep up with the score on the game. Yet, we fill these wonderful tools full of stuff we don’t agree with, bad design decisions that make them harder to use, and slowly destroy the devices we build them for.

So, next time you sit down to start your plan of attack to get that website to function just right, remember the user. Remember the mom, and the kid and the dad. They are the truly important ones. They are who we really work for.