All too often people use the word "validate" to justify their UX work. As in, "Let's test the design to validate it," or “Let’s do an expert design review to validate this iteration.”

I strongly oppose using "validate" in this context. Call it a pet peeve. Call it semantics. Call me rigid. But let me tell you why I feel this way.


The Effect on the Test Participant

从研究开始到其结论,你如何招募,写任务,在考试期间提出问题,以及领导后测试 - 可以巧妙地(或不那么巧妙地)影响测试参与者如何做出反应的影响。这是一个简单的事情priming.

For example, imagine that, as you are briefing the test participant just before you begin a usability test, you say, "We would like to watch how you do things so we can validate the design."


The Effect on Your Team

Saying to your team that you want to validate a design suggests that you know it works and are simply looking for concrete proof. It implies that you are resistant to learning that the design doesn’t work or that you may need to fix it in major ways. And when the team is thus biased, it can reason away major design issues as minor bumps, because the unsaid implication of “validate” is that the design is at a final stage.

When both the team and the study participants are thus primed by the word “validate,” user research turns into a complete waste of time and money.

卡通的人困惑。两人to the right under the word

User Research Should Uncover Many Negatives and Some Positives

A usability test should always find both positive findings and a substantial set of problems.

It is important to find and讨论好东西about any design because:

  • 他们帮助团队意识到哪些设计方面的工作,所以他们不会改变它们。(旧的谚语,“如果它没有破产,请不要修理它”要求你知道什么是good在UI。)
  • The team can learn about what makes a design good and may even be able to reproduce those positive traits in future designs by constructing design patterns and usability guidelines on top of instances of good usability.
  • They can boost the team's morale.
  • They solidify your credibility as a researcher. If you are always look at the negative, your perspective can seem imbalanced and not valuable.


  1. The test was not set up well, and it would behoove you to look at your methodology to see if you structured your study appropriately. Jakob Nielsen has said many times, “If a usability study found nothing to improve in a design then that only proved one thing: that the test was done wrong.”
  2. The scope of your study was tiny. For example, you tested whether people notice a cursor change. In a case like that, the hypothesis is so confined that the study could, indeed, yield no negative findings — people did notice the cursor change and that was that. Studies like this happen a lot in inexpensiveremote sessions. But efficiency dictates that an in-person study looks at more design aspects to offset its cost.
  3. Yourteam is inexperiencedat analyzing user behavior. Maybe problems did occur in the test, but the team ignored them or did not know how to analyze them and thus found no issues.
  4. The team’s eyes are closed to negative findings. Because the stage was set before the test that the design is almost complete, the team did not notice usability issues, or the team members were afraid to bring them up.

简而言之,if your user study did not find any issues, something is wrong with your study or with your team.The perfect user interface has not been seen yet, and it’s unlikely to make its first appearance in world history during your current project.

If you are going to take on the cost of collecting and analyzing user data, you should also plan to support the cost of changing the design based on the study findings. Many teams don't plan for that last step, but they should.


当然,有时需要紧张的时间表或有限的资源使得无法实施用户学习建议的所有设计变更。但这种现实并没有授予美国许可证,即该研究中没有发现任何问题。之间存在很大差异推迟design issues and否认他们的存在。更好地讨论发现的问题,评价他们的严重程度和分类现在可以做些什么。即使在时间表紧张,您也可以尝试以下一些操作:

  • 稍微调整设计.
  • 编辑文档。
  • 定制训练。
  • 预计预计会出现的可用性问题的支持团队。
  • Set分析指标to check the anticipated problems.



What should we say instead of "validate"?

Try these:

  • “Test”
  • “Research”
  • “Examine”
  • “Study”
  • “Analyze”
  • “Watch how people use”
  • “See where the design is successful and unsuccessful”



A sentiment better than “Let’s validate this design,” is ”Let’s learn what works and what doesn’t work well for users and why.”


(记住:用户研究可以便宜又快: learn how in our full-dayUsability Testing course.)