Posted on Tuesday 6 March 2007
There’s a curious entry over on O’Reilly, “The Blonde Correction” (Link), that struck me as being relevant to the design community. From that post:
What I found interesting about this is how much it tells us about faint signals and how the mind sees patterns. What we call intuition is often something we recognize but don’t quite have a conscious story for. Rattigan seems to me to have picked up on the “blonde” connection mostly as a good headline for his show segment, but he had a real point to make. In fact, we all look for hooks on which to hang things that we know, but can’t prove.
I recall one product design effort where this was especially true for me. No matter how hard I tried to convince the team, no one wanted to listen to my concerns. I couldn’t prove anything. All I had was a gut feeling, and that wasn’t enough to overcome the vested interests of the various team members; to convince them to simply update their research instead of making irreversible and potentially uninformed decisions.
I struggled with that project for over two years. And in the end the product line died a horrible death and took with it a substantial chunk of the company’s revenue.
Now when I go to the store I see a generation of products that came after… all looking like the product I’d described to the team. The thing on which I worked for over two years isn’t even in my portfolio. I can only imagine how many other product designers have had the same experience.