JX = Justification Experience
What? You never heard of JX? Well that’s because I invented it, half an hour ago. And because I am not famous, yet. But hey, you’re here, aren’t you, reading this, so let me explain.
“Justification Experience” is when we reply to legit questions with justifications instead of real answers. That’s how people behave when they’re self sufficient: they reply to questions instead of answering them. And in the context of business and bosses, these replies more often then not contain justifications.
A justification is not an explanation. It is a form of superficial inference. A justification is funny because it assumes everybody is on the same page and unlike explanations, they don’t require demonstrating, they’re axiomatic.
When choosing a so called “pattern” most of the time people are not looking for a pattern, they are looking for a quick fix.
When you know deep inside you just applied a quick fix, there is no way in hell you’ll embarrass yourself by trying to explain it, you’ll justify it instead, because justifications are appealing to emotions. Who then wants to explain their emotions, nobody, so you win, you get away.
I have yet to see real research about comparing patterns, especially by medium and small companies hastily adopting “trends” as “patterns.”
Here is a list of the top 5 justifications for UX patterns
1. Everybody knows
What do you mean what is that scribbled twisted line? Everybody knows it the universal symbol for writing down with a stylus on a touchscreen?
Hey guys amirite?
“Everybody knows” means “I know”. Then validation is immediately brought up from peers, buddies, friends of friends, lovers, sympathetic ex lovers, subordinates, fearing subordinates. Its a flood of people who know, but every single one of them will shout “everybody knows”.
In fact nobody knows. Take icons for example. Knowing has some kind of formula in it. As UX icons can only be remembered through association. When presented icons are not understood, but memorized, as they base their communication power on trigger not on logic. Sure if your app is instantly downloaded by millions of people you might educate them. But else you’re merely puzzling them.
2. Everybody does it
Show my one app that doesn’t have it!
“Everybody does it” means “i copied shamelessly”. It means “I never considered for one second if we need it and I don’t really care to”.
But everybody does it is like crowdsourcing your sex life: if you do it because everybody does it you might get screwed badly. And i mean badly!
3. Nobody does it
But, then why doesn’t nobody do this? There must be a reason!
Oh my! My favorite hating subject. Whenever some well intended, apparently smart and useful suggestion arises you hit the nobody wall. Like you need industry giants to preflight any idea.
What does this mean anyway? Everything had a virgin state initially, even you. This is like “hiring juniors with 10 years of experience”.
4. “They” do it
But product X has it, and they are no. 1 downloaded app. Doesn’t that mean anything?
Cults! Cults everywhere! Cults and heroes.
Be more! Unless you’re Rocket Internet and copy everything, there is no meaning into this justification. Do you want to make a copy of that product or a better and original one? Make up your mind.
The biggest fail of this justification is that everything outliers do is deeply rooted into context, and you do not have their context. Sorry.
5. “I” do/love/know/hate it
Of course swiping right will launch nuclear defcon 1, I know that!
In justifications “I” means “you”. Everything after that compounds to “you’re stupid”. Sure, people do it without actually meaning it. But they surely get defensive if you point them out this detail.
There is no place for “I” when you design and create for a swarm of people of many genders, two sexes, a rainbow of races and several educational backgrounds. Who are you?
“I” in UX justifications only means you are the lowest common denominator of humanity. All hail you!
I’ve always loved to underline that no matter how big a company is there are still just “People Inside”, not some super wizard geniuses that have a constant stream of perfect hunches. People who have ideas, test ideas, make assumptions and launch ideas. Then they wait. Most times the ideas are bad.
Then there is inertia. Target audiences. Users, OMG users!! I think you could make a compendium the size of Encyclopaedia Britannica from the misunderstandings and interpretations users bestow upon our beloved patterns. Hysterical. How can we be so certain about the effectiveness of other people’s stuff into our stuff, beats me.