I’ll admit it.
Without upfront research, you’re not designing things, you’re just building things that might or might not meet your users’ needs or fit their mental models. Chances are, they won’t. User acceptance testing and A/B testing are important, but won’t give you the insights you’ll need to start off on the right foot.
Whether it’s business goals, KPIs, or conversion rates, without metrics you’ll have no idea what problems you’re solving or if the solutions you’re building will fit the bill.
Your first attempt at anything will not be your best. Put something out there and continually work on making it better and better.
Good design simplifies complexity to align with users’ mental models. Without understanding context and creating systems to design within, you’re just adding noise that contributes to cognitive overload for both users and the people building the product.
Design doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Whether it’s through participatory design with users, sketching sessions with other designers, developers, product managers, and stakeholders, or just an old fashioned critique, the best design work comes from working with others.