Common Sense Design

I added the results of the quiz below. Check out those swanky graphs!


I've been re-reading one of my go-to UX books, Human Performance Engineering by Dr Robert Bailey.

Particularly, I've been focusing on the chapter about assessing the validity of test results. I mean, who doesn't need a refresher on f testing? The chapter starts off with a bit about “Common Sense” design versus “Data-Driven” design. I asked Dr Bailey if I could reproduce the quiz for fun and he said yes.

So, here we go. Put on your UX vest, your Interaction Design belt, and your Usability britches. No need for your Graphic Design undies as you can see from the illustration* below.

Stop scrolling if you want to guess before seeing the answer.

Consider the best design to be the one which causes the fewest burns and the least damage.

The Results

71 responses. 59% got it wrong.

The correct answer is #1. While this may not be the absolute “best design evar,” it was the best design of the original study. And for the record, I guessed #2, which is what prompted me to do this quiz in the first place.

Common sense is all well and good, but you shouldn't rely on it solely. For the 40% that got it right, it either means you have good design sense or you are good at multiple choice guessing.

My takeaway: there's nothing wrong with guessing, but we should all be testing more often.

Illustration from Johns Hopkins University Press, © 1959, p. 7.