Why you need to be on the front line

15Sep10

Get in the trenches! User shadowing to really know what your user is doing and to get new ideas

Working in product development for middle to large companies it is very easy to hide behind a lot of walls. The “product manager told me so” or the “technically it is not possible” or the “the CEO thought that was  a great feature” one.

Practically they exist, but in order to get the user experience and product design better you should be the one knowing what the customer wants.

I know what my customer wants, I read the report

1000’s of management books exist that claim to say what the customer wants, but how the heck do they know your customers?

Most probably you have statistical information regarding the use of your product. Great to test your ideas. But do they show how the user is interacting with your product? Does it show what products he uses on the side? How much he has to copy and paste? How he interacts practically with your product? No.

Reports suck half of the time: To the trenches!

Therefore, go shadowing! Visit some customers on-site. Sit next to them for an hour and record it all. Sure you will be to convince anyone of the need for your porposed ideas!

Not sure how to do it?

Do a course: http://www.nngroup.com/events/tutorials/interaction.html

Read a book: http://www.amazon.com/Think-Common-Sense-Approach-Usability/dp/0789723107

Watch a presentation: http://www.slideshare.net/laurenceveale/user-testing-on-a-shoestring-fowa-dublin

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