Create shared experiences

Most people want to participate in some way in decisions that affect them, or they might be held responsible for, and it’s easy to think by asking for feedback that you’re including the client in the process. The problem is that clients or stakeholders who aren’t designers don’t have the tools to negotiate with us on design concepts that they don’t fully understand, and it’s easy to think you know best.

Creating shared experiences works from two ends. First, it gives them a stake in the process.

This [[bias]] is sometimes called the Ikea Effect: People tend to value a thing more highly if they made it themselves. By going through the research process with them, this became a thing that they helped make. They saw how their input changed how we thought about things, and what the results were going to be.

Shared experiences give everybody a stake in the outcome, some ownership of it.

But, of course, it’s not entirely their job. The other thing that this kind of iterative collaboration gives you is a huge number of concrete details to use. Instead of speaking in the abstract, you can say, “Remember when we did X in the user research run through?” You can pay attention to how they explain it to each other and the examples they use when they discuss their answers. Those details make you more credible, add impact, and most importantly, it means you’re speaking their language. You’re meeting them more than halfway.