Saturday, October 3, 2015

Do you like it? Part 2

The previous part introduced the problem of asking around for quick 'likes'. This post dives deeper into what makes the short term feedback so dangerous for new product development process.

The biggest challenge with short term feedback is how it forms. When people see or experience something for the first time (like your groundbreaking new product in this case), their brain is unconsciously trying to match that with any prior experience.

Time for a painfully accurate comparison: the human brain is like Microsoft's Office Assistant. It will suggest you things based on the information available to it. Irrelevant information will return irrelevant suggestion

Short test situations will give you plenty of data about dominant products that have been succesfully launched, but absolutely nothing to complete something that hasn't existed before. End users don't have the same vision that you have, nor have they used the product long enough for that vision to materialize.

Because people can't predict the future for you, they will be more than  happy  to  tell  you  about  their  color  preferences . Or about their hobbies, funny relatives and cute pets. You will hear why they like a certain font or type of food. Anything that comes to mind, really. Obviously, it's not their fault but yours. You're expecting answers they don't have; for problems they don't know. You might as well be interviewing lobsters. Or Clippy.

More tragically, you've just offloaded part of your product development responsibilities onto people paying your salary. Bravo, such a genious plan to escape later responsibility if things go sideways.

If you still think that one hour casual chat sessions with test subjects is all that it takes to validate new ideas and concepts, you leave me no other choice but to question your ability to read. Because this topic is not that hard to comprehend.

Everyone remotely familiar with studying user behavior are probably furious by now, and wish to point out that short term feedback can give useful insight, if you know how. That's why I saved it for the final part (when I get around to write it).

Thanks for reading and see you in the next post. In the meantime, agree or disagree, debate or shout. Bring it on and spread the word.


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