What to do when someone says your baby is ugly

Nov 08 2013

I imagine it’s a strange thing to show off your baby.

What if other people don’t think he’s the cutest one in the world? What if they don’t recognize that he’s so much more intelligent than his drooling peers? And what if—God forbid—they do see his genius (he listens to Mozart!), and they try to steal him?

Well, the good news is, I have no baby to show off. But I do have a nascent digital media project that takes up about the same time and energy, and, at the ripe old age of three months, is ready for user testing.

And, like the baby scenario, this is a bit difficult of a difficult process. On one hand I want—and probably need—to get some constructive criticism. But on the other, I know that it’s going to be nearly impossible to hear because this is my baby and, to me, it’s perfect.

So how do you put your prototype—your baby—through a process of user testing without

1. Feeling like your baby isn’t that great after all

or

2. Rejecting any critique because, hey, you think its perfect?

Well first off, you probably need to redefine perfect. Because nothing, except maybe Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s babies, actually is perfect. Enter the process knowing that improvement is always possible.

Then, once you’ve established that you can and will benefit from constructive criticism, encourage people to really flesh out their feelings. Don’t settle with “it’s good”, “it’s bad” and “it’s boring.” Understand what they love, what they hate, what they want to see more of. It’s important.

And finally, trust your judgment. Know that you don’t have to rethink every aspect of the product just because someone thought the font was “kind of weird.”

So what’s the takeaway?

Your prototype is your baby, and it’s going to be hard to take criticism. But remember that the best criticism is constructive and improvement is always possible.

And, besides, shouldn’t he be listening to Bach?


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