The theme for today seems to be 'never'.
I was sitting at breakfast when my Mum entered the room, rushing around in a flurry, explaining to both me and my Dad why she was running late. It's photo day at school, so she had to do her make-up. She looked up and asked me if she looked alright. She looked lovely, of course she did.
My Dad suddenly exclaimed "I wouldn't worry, no one looks at the photos anyway."
My brow furrowed and I became slightly puzzled, "I probably would" I replied, imagining myself walking into a school reception and as I was waiting, (cos there will inevitably be a moment of pause), scanning over the photos on the wall.
I instantly said "You are not your user Dad". This was something my friend and colleague friend Terence Eden wrote about earlier this year. (And he's not the only one: 52 Weeks of UX, UX expert Whitney Hess and O'Reilly's Killer UX Design all mention this mantra). I've maybe taken it on board as a motto. To me I am saying: "Just because you do or don't, doesn't mean others are the same, don't assume things about the behaviour and thoughts of other people. Assuming makes an ass out of u and me."
I'm not even saying I don't do it, it's a natural reaction, but what I have tried to do recently is not answer with 'I don't do/use that' or 'I do do/use that' or 'That's not how I use that' and start to think about the possibility that there maybe some of the 7 billion people on the earth that do or don't or use thing's differently to me.
This recent xkcd comic explicitly tells website builders to not have a fadey/zoomy™ image carousel. I am not detracting from the awesomeness of xkcd, however I worked on a site a couple of years back for retirement properties and our focus group much preferred the version of the homepage with the fadey/zoomy™ images, the feedback being it looked more professional or 'classier' than the flat home page.
I think my moral here is 'You don't know until you try'. So try, don't assume. Build quickly and get it in front of your target audience. You will have to make some assumptions when you initially build or design things, but keep it in mind that you've made a judgement call and that you might be wrong. Be willing to adapt and change things, be willing to be wrong.
Something, I find as humans, we're not particularly good at, although I might just be making assumptions.