You are the user, but just with different needs!

Redona Dida
4 min readOct 19, 2021


If you’re new to this field, you’ll not understand what that really means.

In the last period, I see that it’s very trendy to share the NN/g post that says “You are not the user”. They all do it without giving too many explanations. As a result, people get even more confused! I’m curious to know how many people went to learn the false-consensus effect!?

What new designers or UX-evangelists will do is just sharing this post by stating in a really aggressive way “You are not the user”. And woe betides you if you say you are.

If you want to be accepted in this community you should repeat whatever the UX bible says otherwise you’re not a real UX Designer. Ok, I’m done with the rant.

So what does it mean in 2021 almost 2022 not to be the user?

We all use more or less Facebook, Google, Amazon, Linkedin, Instagram, Netflix, etc … (just to name the most famous ones) so how can I not be the user and at the same time the designer of that product?

Let’s suppose that I’m working for one of those companies and at the same time using their product. I’m part of a user group that has some specific needs, and maybe some problems while using that product, so why I can not be part of the equation and consider myself as a starting point? And later conduct some research to understand if it’s a problem that other people are facing too?

Of course, what they mean (NN/g) is “stop thinking like YOU” when you design you can not only rely on your own hypothesis and biases, and of course, you need to conduct some research because that’s the best way to understand how people might behave or use the product/website that you’ve designed.

But I don’t feel that this sentence “You are not the user” is correct, I would rather say “You are the user, but just with different needs”.

I will give you some context here so you understand what I’m talking about:

You can find this Instagram post here.

I’m a heavy Instagram user, and I use it really often to share my content with my community I also share lots of stories. A few months ago I and Nadia Amer (my ex-colleague) were questioning the auto-generated captions on Instagram stories, in our opinion, that new feature was not working because I first as a user was not reading them. I was skipping all the stories, for me, it was really time-consuming therefore a bad feature.

Based on our perplexities I decided to conduct a little research (I didn’t want to rely on my own biases) to understand what people think about this new feature and if it was a common problem or just us.

Instagram stories and captions.


The majority of Instagram users watch videos muted. Instagram Stories now has an auto-caption feature that can help you to communicate better with your audience.

“With captions, people can now express themselves in a more effortless yet still meaningful way, and their audience can watch and still engage.” — Instagram

I conducted some research to understand how people prefer to read captions on Instagram stories.


Research conducted on Instagram stories.

Here we see that they are basically confirming my hypothesis and perplexities as a user. Also, on the other side, the problem is that we as creators don’t have time to type all the text.


A solution might be to display the whole auto-generated static text of the 15-seconds story all at once.

Now the person that is watching can read it at its own pace, and engage with your stories, and also at the same time saves a lot of my time as a creator.


This is proof that you are and can absolutely be the user and the designer of the product (if you are using that product) just take into consideration that you have different needs so it’s absolutely necessary to conduct research to understand if other people are facing the same or different problem.

What if you’re not using that product? Well, it’s simple…you are not the user of that product. You still need to come up with some hypotheses and test them. Easy right?

I hope you liked this unpopular opinion :)

With love




Redona Dida

I am a Digital Designer focused on strategy and growth.