Be Tron: Fight for the User or Be a User Advocate

Published: October 4th, 2017

Making a product comes down to a question of fiscal feasibility. It’s about generating enough money from revenue, advertising and customers, to keep the lights on.

It makes complete sense — I understand. Even open source and free projects have a cost. The user the person(s) for whom you built this service/product is and should be the highest priority. Sometimes when people concentrate too much on squeezing everything for revenue they then start to overlook growing pains or inherent product issues. In these moments a product manager, designer, developer product designer or someone, needs to raise their voice and fight for the users.

I know saying this is easy. It costs nothing to write these words down and not follow through. It is not as simple as telling your boss or coworkers there needs to be change. Some things you can do are pointing out little things at a stand up, mentioning a feature that can be slowly implemented, or making small changes that benefit users and add accessibility, but make no difference to the code or to the company. These series of small changes seem less daunting and may be seen as easier to implement. Baby steps are success as well.

Greed is creating a system of reliance on digital products and software that is poorly thought-out and can directly affect the user or indirectly affect others. I don’t want to sound alarmist but systems that don’t function but are required to be used by people at large are slowly becoming an epidemic. Even popular sites and services are sacrificing user satisfaction, and usability in exchange for pocketing as much money as possible.

There is no easy answer.

There is no surefire ultimate list or stepped process to make your voice heard and push through the bureaucracy and bullshit and get people to pay attention to you. In some circumstances, people know that you are right and will resent you trying to make things better. These things take hard work and some want the easy road. In other instances people will want to do things their way to the exclusion of all else. Disregarding reason, research and data in favor of their gut feelings.

All you can do is fight. I will continue to fight as hard as I can for the users. I hope you do the same.