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Sometimes You Need to Put Your Gut in Check

, Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

A few weeks ago, I uttered the phrase “People who like pancakes for breakfast prefer responsive design. I defy you to prove otherwise. ”

That’s a pretty bold statement. And I’ll be honest. I can’t prove it. But you can’t disprove it. And until you can disprove it, I’m going to assume I am right. And I’m going to advise everyone as such.

This blog post is not about responsive design. It’s about making decisions, big and small.

The statement was part of a conversation on responsive design. Several of us at Beaconfire were arguing the merits of responsive design. Most were enthralled. Some, a bit skeptical. I just wanted the proof. Don’t get me wrong, I think responsive design is fantastic. I wished every website were designed using responsive design. But I just want to make sure a) our target audiences agree with me; and b) they so thoroughly agree with me that its worth any additional investment we put into it.

As web experts, we rely on years of experience that we’ve gathered in our cranium, and are reluctant to let go of best practices. But there’s only one thing that has been consistent in my experience in the web world: tastes vary quite a bit and change very quickly.

As web experts, our advice has to come from a collective place – more than just our gut. It has to come from our gut, our experience, and data. Web analytics, A/B and multi-variate testing, user-testing, tree-testing, other people’s data…there’s a treasure trove of information out there just waiting to prove you right.

You see, my gut tells me that everyone will love responsive design. And if everyone loves responsive design, than that means that people who like pancakes will prefer responsive design. That’s what my gut tells me.
Gut is important. But back it up with data. And don’t be afraid when that data puts your gut in check. Because if you don’t prove your gut right, someone else may prove it wrong.

One Response to “Sometimes You Need to Put Your Gut in Check”

  1. Jo Miles Says:

    As a wise man named Stephen Colbert once said, “Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. Now, I know some of you are going to say, “I did look it up, and that’s not true.” That’s ’cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut.”

    Unfortunately, not all of our guts are as reliable as Colbert’s…