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Corporate Usability Maturity: Stages 1-4 (24 Apr 2006)
For projects targeting non-geek audiences, it's disastrous to rely on the design team's understanding of what's easy. Anyone working on a project knows much too much about it to represent outside users.

Luckily, the difference between a team member's conceptual model and that of average users is easy to explain. It's also an easy pill for team members to swallow, because you're basically telling them that they're too smart and knowledgeable to stand in for the average user.

At stage 2, you have a huge advantage: people care about usability. That said, you're still likely to get lip service from high-level executives, who'll make announcements like "good user experience is a high priority" while failing to actually fund usability work. So, while you can't go directly from stage 2 to an elaborate usability process, you are likely to find people receptive to the logic of usability. These people will also show some willingness to move to stage 3 -- if you keep pushing.
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