Why I got Brexit wrong

July 20, 2016

I don’t know about you but I found the Brexit vote quite a shock, I did not believe for a moment that the UK would vote to leave. On reflection, one of reasons for this is that I move in circles where most people were remainers. I know few leavers, or people who will admit to it, and this clearly coloured my view of the likely outcome. I noticed a similar problem recently when undertaking some user testing for a grocery client looking at some wine pages: I was surprised to see that 4 out of 6 testers had no idea what a magnum was. They all thought it was part of the name of the wine. How could anyone not know what a magnum was? Both examples are a timely reminders that our own experiences are not a good guide to how others think or behave. Because we tend to mix with ‘people like us’ we see a very narrow slice of the totality of human attitudes. Relying on our own experiences to draw conclusions about how others will behave can, as these examples show, mean we are very wrong. Undertaking research with users means you are much less likely to make these sorts of mistakes.