Have you seen The Simpsons episode where Homer discovers he has a long-lost brother who owns a car company? Homer’s brother instructs his engineers to design a car that the “average guy” would want using Homer’s input. Homer demands extra large cup-holders, tail fins, a bubble dome, and horns that play La Cucaracha. As you might imagine, the car is an expensive flop, and it bankrupts his brother’s company.
The episode is extreme and of course unrealistic, however in the end it serves well to illustrate how customers aren’t product designers. Customers will always make requests and suggestions for your product, and that’s great information to capture. However we must recognize our customers suggestions tend to jump straight to the solution, without understanding interactions or the context in which people use the software.
By getting out of the solution space, and staying in the problem space, you will better understand the motivations and context behind the feedback.
|Here’s a more up-to-date take on getting to “why”|