You Better Ask the User

Our world is characterized by an extreme focus on the customer. We’re talking about user experience, user interface, customer experience management, and human-centered design. As a designer working in branding, I find myself asking the same question over and over again: does my work have the desired impact on the user? And as frustrating as it may sound, we will never know. Or let me state it differently: we will never know, unless we ask. So, why don’t we?

Just recently we asked a client for feedback. We wanted to know whether or not our work had created added value before planning the rollout of some newly developed communication tools.

It quickly became clear to us that the best answer to this question could only be given by the user. So we asked. And what we got is raw, unfiltered, and honest feedback. We realized how valuable this step was for the work we do, and for all the work to come. And yes, this seems like it would include more steps in the working process, and yes, this seems like it would have an effect on the budget. But in the end it gives us much more: the certainty that what we do works.


So I say, let’s break away and get out of this client-agency bubble. Let’s sharpen our eyesight again and again. Let’s develop brands that add a value to each and every user out there. Yes to more involvement of the user. Yes to human-centered branding.

_Martin Nobs is designer at MetaDesign Zürich.