User vs Business needs. It's a topic which understandably divides designers. What is an appropriate balance?
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Issue 026

A balancing act.

Tug of War: Balancing What’s Best for the User vs. Business

Article by Erika Warren, Behzod Sirjani, Ravi Mehta, and Keya Patel from Reforge
User vs Business needs.

It's a topic which understandably divides designers.

I have regular internal battles with this apparent conundrum. I ask myself questions you might recognise.

  • If I prioritise a business outcome, am I letting users down?
  • Am I betraying the design discipline by being less user-centric?
  • If there is a user vs business needs balance, how do I find it?

If you find this a challenging area to explore, you're not alone.

The perceived tension between business and user needs often paints it as a binary choice—a zero-sum game.

Thankfully, the clever folks at Reforge have published a deep dive exploring how we can navigate and design for both user and business needs with a practical, ethical approach. 
As professionals responsible for shaping the current and next generation of user behavior and technology, we need to think about our ethical obligation to build value for our products without causing harm.

Depending on the stage of your organisation's growth or maturity, the delicate balance between user and business needs might shift.

But regardless of whether you're pre-seed or at Series-D and beyond, Reforge believe user value should consistently outperform other measures of business value.

It's a long read. But a highly recommended one.

P.S. Hat tip to Andy Budd for bringing this article to my attention in his Tweet.
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