In the midst of an animated debate over the future our project's user's interface, a project manager once looked me in the eye and said, "remember Rich, user rhymes with loser." That's a shocking statement for someone like myself who has spent ten years studying the habits of web site users like the Jane Goodall of the internet. However, the power of that phrase shut down all further conversation because I knew exactly what he meant.
As an interface designer, I know that a successful web application is a user friendly one. But as a consultant and an employee, I know that the person who is most important to please is the one who pays the bills. "Users rhymes with losers" means that concerns over usability can always be trumped by the desires of clients or employers.
I think every designer struggles with how to create something that people enjoy using and makes one proud of one's work while satisfying internal politics, budget, and schedule. Sometimes the skills most useful to a good designer aren't technical at all. They are patience and diplomacy. Knowing when to convince a client of your wisdom, and when to accept that the only acceptable solution may not be yours.
My outlook on my craft is a pragmatic one. I use whatever technology is best for the job, or whatever I'm told that I have to use. On this blog, I intend to share insights into things I'm using, issues I'm facing and whatever else that I think might be of interest to other developers like myself balancing users with losers.