The Temptation to Tinker
by Ali Carmichael, Managing Director and Owner

The Temptation to Tinker

Because I spend so much some time with the Experience UX brand and messaging, the temptation to tinker is strong. I’ve read the same paragraph over and over so it no longer connects with me emotionally. I become robotic to it and therefore see no option other than to rewrite it.

This becomes a fruitless task as:

  1. I end up spending way too much time on a task that wasn’t on my agenda for the day
  2. I lose perspective of how and why the copy was originally written
  3. I am no longer attacking it with a view of the intended reader. Subconsciously, it is all about me
  4. I’m never quite happy with my edits

Changing a paragraph maybe isn’t the biggest of dramas, but after a few ’rounds’ of tinkering the copy will no doubt lose its purpose and will likely be ‘off-brand’, if you’re into that sort of thing. However, this need to tinker can happen with campaigns, with products and services, with company values and culture, and with the entire brand. And that becomes serious.

Seth Godin, in his book ‘This Is Marketing’ highlights this and reminds us that familiar is trusted,

Seth Godin - This is Marketing Quote

Change is not a bad thing if undertaken in the right circumstances. Tweaks are often required to improve our materials and our service offering, but we can’t do this effectively without the perspective of our audience.

When we’re talking with and observing our clients’ audiences, we get up close and experience how they see the world. Often, what our client might think is a serious issue turns out not to matter quite so much, and the ‘fix’ is much easier and quicker than expected.

Equally, when we ran our first usability test on our own website (quite a few years ago now), hoping to establish which tweaks we should make to improve user engagement, we found that the issue was bigger. Our audience didn’t engage with our brand quite as we’d hoped. Making tweaks here and there was never going to improve the experience without a change to the brand.

That hurt. I hurt. But at least I had the insight I needed to make the necessary change, even if that wasn’t the change I originally set out to make.

I remind myself of that hurt when I find myself tinkering. I need to see it from my audiences’ perspective to make sure that it needs tinkering and, if it does, what should that tinkering entail and, if it doesn’t, what do I need to change.

UX Consultant Emma Peters

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