We can’t ignore our users if we never allow them to introduce features in the first place.
This weekend, a random, strong thought popped in my head. I couldn’t fit it in a twitter post, so I’m starting a new short series of posts called “As I see it.” What triggered this thought is a presentation at “No Fluff Just Stuff” conference in Columbus, Ohio, about UI/UX design and user feedback. The presenter, who shall remain nameless, said “Once you have a stable product, ignore feedback from users as it will only cloud your vision.” Something to that effect anyway … I’m slightly paraphrasing.
While I sort of agree with his statement, to me, it felt like it stood against being empathetic to the user. It also got me thinking that if we change our mental model, we never have to deal with muddy feedback. So here it is: we can’t ignore our users, if we never allow them to introduce features in the first place. Instead, we need to move up the abstraction ladder and ask them what problems they’re trying to solve. Then we (product owners/designers/developers) analyze these problems and introduce solutions in terms of features.
I realize this is easier said than done and that it takes a “master of craft” kind of person to actually train users not to provide feedback in terms of UI changes or features (something that’s engraved in every user of software these days). But the question is: is it possible? Would like to hear your feedback.