Failure is a marker along the road to designing great experiences

“Failure and loss can be good. If you aren’t finding failure in your design work, then you aren’t really exploring all the possible solutions… Failure is not an end result if we have purpose and intention. It’s only a marker along the road to designing great experiences.” – Francisco Inchauste

Read more in Francisco’s article “Failure by Design.”

Catriona Cornett

I am a User Experience Designer with a passion for making people’s lives better through design. I have helped over a dozen organizations obtain a competitive advantage by delivering great user experiences across desktop, mobile, tablet and other channels.

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  • http://twitter.com/Richard_SF Richard SF

    Wait a cotton-pickin minute. Do I need to post a screen shot of this webpage, and the contrast ratio (LACK THEREOF) of blue linked text over dark charcoal grey, and subsequent *terrible* readability problem?

    Is THAT what is meant by FAILURE along the way? What is up with this comments page? How in the world can UX people be commenting blithely about UX this and usability that when there is BLACK text over charcoal grey background, alternating with black text and blue-link text over dark blue-grey background?

    This is nutsville! One of the absolute WORST user experiences for reading text on a website I have seen in years…. And this, from a site called INSPIRE UX? Sheesh! This is a parody site.

  • http://twitter.com/Richard_SF Richard SF

    Wait a cotton-pickin minute. Do I need to post a screen shot of this webpage, and the contrast ratio (LACK THEREOF) of blue linked text over dark charcoal grey, and subsequent *terrible* readability problem?

    Is THAT what is meant by FAILURE along the way? What is up with this comments page? How in the world can UX people be commenting blithely about UX this and usability that when there is BLACK text over charcoal grey background, alternating with black text and blue-link text over dark blue-grey background?

    This is nutsville! One of the absolute WORST user experiences for reading text on a website I have seen in years…. And this, from a site called INSPIRE UX? Sheesh! This is a parody site.

  • Anonymous

    Richard,
    I think you may be experiencing a technical glitch with the site. The site has been experiencing CSS issues lately where, because of issues with my web host, the stylesheets do not load properly. This problem is intermittent and I am looking into a fix. When the page loads properly, the issues you presented are not there. The text is on a white background, not the gray background.

    I hope the issues you presented do not continue, and again, I’m looking into new web hosting to fix the stylesheet issue. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/Richard_SF Richard SF

    Hi, I am late in replying and only now have seen your twitter posts. … Believe it or not, I honestly did not even know there was a glitch… which is why the whole thing was incongruous to me…. The quote was great… But there you had the quote’s content… And i almost felt i was walking into a psychology experiment.

    But I apologize for having gotten it all wrong. I see now you have a beautiful site layout and design, and of course, highly readable — and that had been the “flash point” for my comment. I sure jumped the gun — and i apologize for that.

    I read your twitter stream — and you have a right to view my comment as rude… and jerky (though you did not actually invoke that word).

    As for your friends who supported you by saying “Delete his comment”, I am happy to see you did not. … I always find it better to let things be examined in light of day, and I can and do accept that I was wrong about the generalized commenting the accompanied the accurate portion of my comment which was: I can’t read with these color choices. Now i learn it was the result of the style sheet not loading, vs the idea that seemed absolutely impossible to conceive in my head: that someone designed it that way.

    So please accept my apology for going off half-cocked… And thank you for responding above so professionally.

    Another time (perhaps) — unless i have been banished from this collection of UX designers — I will tell you where all that comes from. Turns out *not* to be the case here, so i am the one to be embarrassed. But the short hook is: I am seeing more and more a dual trend: While the numbers of qualified IA/UI/UX/interaction designers/transaction designers has increased, and we are seeing that excellence propogating onto the web (and mobile), I am seeing an alarming other trend: Which are the faux UX people who may have the academic degrees a mile long, and yet whose work simply does not hold up.

    The simplest and most iconic case in point: Google Wave. Didn’t fail due to lack of user adoption, lack of marketing, or eric schmidt’s B.S. view for the cameras that “sometimes you just don’t know when something is going to work and when it doesn’t, but we love failure, we celebrate failure at google, and take those results and apply them to our next project” —– which you will see is actually on topic to this thread post, exactly that point.

    Reality is: QUite simply Google wave had about the worst UX design i have seen in a product in a long time, with its absolute biggest failure was someone’s brilliant idea that, “Non only will we brand this new multi-user real-time collaborative chat with linking media” tool “Google Wave” — a great name! — but also we shall coin a new piece of nomenclature and actually call that thing in the inbox a “wave”.

    That decision right there, to be so clever and invent a new gizmo, was the single greatest destructive component to Google Wave’s user adoption.

    Had they let the brand be the brand, but retained the ONE PIECE IF FAMILIARITY users came to the product with — THE INBOX — where they normally might see EMAIL SUBJECT LINES, or with forums they were also familiar with the concept of THREAD SUBJECTS and the multi-user discussions that opened upon clicking, no, some whiz kid at Google had to decide ”let’s cal that thing in the inbox a Wave”.

    In study after study i did, informally testing users to “hey try this new Google product”, giving them very little context other then “collaborative communication tool that extends the idea of email & multi-user chat”, the greatest stumbling block, and the repeated stumbling block was:

    “I don’t get it: what’s a wave? They keep referring to “Click an existing wave, or start a new one”

    BACK TO POINT: Your friend is mistaken, the one in Palo Alto, who urges “we all must stick together and protect our own”.

    No. bullshit. Just the opposite. That is my underlying point and on one of the UX groups at LinkedIn we have had this exact discussion: Bad UX design devalues the currency of everything we do. In the same way when suites think they can get a secretary to design a logo with clip art and fonts on computer.

    My argument is: Just as we are getting well deserved and hard fought traction in the client services business that THIS STUFF IS NECESSARY and the largest success factor of the site — thus having them allocate budgets, and utilize these services, when bad UX design comes and pollutes the sensibilities of anyone — it devalues the currency of the whole value proposition. And thus no, while it is a warm and fuzzy nice thing to have a friend jump to the aid of a colleague she feels is under attack and to counsel “DELETE THE COMMENT”, that is exact opposite of good advice. And I applaud you for good intuition, or superb professionalism, or most likely both.

    Good things arise out of conflict.

    Let there be conflict. Tamping it down, deleting it is YouTube culture, so thank you for not doing so.

    And now, you shall be my BFF :) unless you delete this comment for being on my high horse again…. which I was… but i have a sense of humor about it that text can’t show.

  • http://twitter.com/Richard_SF Richard SF

    Oh, and if you send me email i can suggest the hosting companies I use — just to maybe look into.. Very reasonable. I think you can access my email but if not: RichardSF(dot)us a-t-g/m/ai-l/(.)c-m