Design is often a very humbling experience. In fact, I'm so used to it now, that as soon as I begin to feel relaxed or confidant, I start getting worried. Just when you think you know what you're doing, something is going to come along to remind you that you don't know squat.
I recently started work on an internal configuration app for our account managers. The managers get frequent requests for changes to client settings that they can't do in the app. In the initial work ahead meetings my scrum team figured out we could re-use some of the app's existing interfaces to achieve what we want. Before we went down that route, I asked for some time just to confirm that the account managers were happy with the existing interfaces.
Now here's the thing: I had analysed these interfaces and found them to be monstrously complex. I figured "Well if I can't understand them, the account managers must be really struggling". Pretty conceited I'll admit. So I set up a number of observational interviews to prove my point.
To my amazement, each account manager admitted that they secretly enjoyed the interface! While they acknowledged it was very complicated, it did allow them great flexibility and they had a great sense of achievement when they got it working. "It's kind of like a puzzle." One said, "It can melt your head, but when you get it right, it feels great."
I was very humbled. My assumption that I could ride in on my UX stallion and ease everyone's pain with some zen-like minimalism fell on it's face. I had to admit my assumptions had been incorrect and somewhat arrogant. Was I upset? Not at all. It was inspiring to experience just how revealing qualitative research is. Again.
Plus it meant I'd have a lot less work to do!