Don’t ask your users what they want!

dontasktheusersYou might think you should hear the opposite from me. Isn’t the user King and aren’t they always right?

-No!

The customer might always be right, as the customer might take his business elsewhere. However the User is usually much more prone to say: Yes I want that, Yes I would use that, if you ask them about a feature.

Too many times I have found companies asking users to answer questions if they would like to have a feature that helps them with X or Y. Very few users can answer the question in a way that would be beneficiary to the company. -Will you as a user use this feature?

By asking the users about features you will most likely end up with a very long back-log that is hard to prioritise.

So what should you ask your users?

I believe it is much easier for a user to give you better information about what problems they have while fulfilling a task. They are more likely able to tell you what tasks they think takes too long time or which ones are tedious. By moving focus from feature to problem areas you will get a better grip of what you can help your users with.

Next step is to find solutions to the most prioritised problems and when you find the answers it may be a new feature. This feature you should test as early as possible, with prototypes or on paper that is not the most important but get early feedback from your users on the feature and work in an agile manner to improve it in cycles.

But remember, the users are often customers and they have the power to choose where to buy from!

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