Usability quotes

This page contains about 12 quotes of possible value to UX professionals

About Commitment

When the boss says “quality is the most important thing” and then overrides the quality gates to force a shipment of a product to meet a deadline, we get it. Software developers are able to decode this situation quite correctly. We learn that what people say is what people say, but what people do is what is important to them.

— Phillip G. Armour

Commitment is not doing what you want to do.  …  Commitment is doing what you don’t want to do – because it is difficult, expensive, or inconvenient. In fact, the more you don’t want to do something, but continue doing it because you believe it to be the right thing to do, the more you are committed to it.

— Phillip G. Armour

Opinions and usability evaluation

In God we trust—all others must bring data.

— W Edwards Deming

What people say, what people do, and what people say they do are three different things.

— Margaret Mead

The First Law of Usability: Your design willbe tested by users — your only choice is whether to run the test yourself before launch so that you can fix the inevitable problems while it’s cheap instead of playing expensive catch-up later.

— Jakob Nielsen

Project management

What gets measured gets done
What gets rewarded gets done well

— Anonymous

A popular model of the UX process:

  • Discover: Get out of the building to talk with people and discover “what is the problem?”
  • Make: Prototype what you assume is a solution
  • Check: Watch people use it and find how wrong you were.
  • Repeat the above: Solution designers often assume they’re done after validation. It never ends.

— Archie Miller

Hopefully, we can learn by other folks mistakes before we make them ourselves. It is bad enough to reinvent the wheel but we would like to skip the reinvention of the triangular wheel, the reinvention of the square wheel, and get right to the reinvention of the 13 sided wheel and go from there. 

— John Ward

If the client demands a flaming goat walk across the screen, we can strongly advise against it and explain why. If they still demand the flaming goat, then we’re going to give them a flaming goat, since they’re paying us to build what they want.

— Anonymous, quoted by Loren Phillips

There once were two cats of Kilkenny
Each thought there was one cat too many
So they fought and they fit
And they scratched and they bit
‘Til (excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails)
Instead of two cats there weren’t any!

— Nursery rhyme

Customer service

Say what you will about cybercriminals, their victims rave about the customer service … The attackers are so far ahead of the defenders, it worries me quite a lot.

— Angela Sasse

A final word

Let’s make better mistakes tomorrow!

— Anonymous