Companies and user-testing

User experience: why do so many organizations believe they own it? report from a Silicon Valley gathering by Fred Sampson is a great account about a meeting that focused on usability in private companies.

Dear Dr. Usability, I am working for a client who does not want to conduct user research. He just wants me to start giving him page designs for his Web site. This potential client has a specific audience in mind: Vegetarian Veterinarians. Shouldn’t I insist on doing some user research before giving him what he wants? It would be unprofessional to just give him designs without some research supporting their value. —Worried Contractor in Connecticut