… and the User will Follow

This will be a growing post. As I find them, this post will have a collection of views to a different approach for designing products.
Here are some quotes from guys who do not employ standard usability practices to collect user requirements, or do not make designs based on usability principles or don’t test prototypes with users.

What I will get to is-
There is no one way of making a great product. A great product always addresses the right questions with the right answers. (Click on the icons to read from the source)

Flickr (Catrina Fake)
“What did you do for usability testing?”

  • Almost none, got it out early as Paul also suggested
  • Flickr Alpha was the usability testing- “put it out with its zits and blemishes”
  • Heavy monitoring of/posting on their support forums
  • “Users don’t have a problem teling you that something really sucks…”

Google (Marissa Mayer)
“When I first started testing in 2000, we tested once a month. Now, we’re user testing almost every week. We’ll do a site-wide test once a month or so, with some tasks, but more free-form, just to see where people go, where they encounter problems. The other three weeks of the month, we test specific features. Adwords, for example, is a new product that’s big enough that it needs its own test – it can’t be layered into a sitewide test. So we test every 10 days, usually with eight users each. We want to find the big problems, and with eight users we definitely get to that level.

Popcap (Casual Game Creators)
“So we’re building games that are fun for us first. That’s the first test. After that, we try to make them more accessible to everyone else.

Conversely, we get asked if we make games specifically for women. It’s one of the challenges when we talk about the company. People think it’s games for girls. More of our customers are women than men. They ask us if we do focus tests with soccer moms. We don’t.

We don’t really track development costs to see how much time we spent. I liken it to other creative processes like writing a novel. How much does it cost to write a novel? Does it matter? It’s more about how can you get a good novel written. The creating of the novel is hard to measure.”

Steve Jobs’ perspective on “designing for you”
“We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do.”

37 Signals (Basecamp creators)
“Designing for ourselves first yields better initial results because it lets us design what we know. It lets us assess quality quickly and directly, instead of by proxy. And it lets us fall in love with our products and feel passionate about what we make. There’s simply no substitute for that.

David Lewis (Bang & Olufsen)
“All designers for B&O — not just me and my team of six — are external. The company believes in it. My six-member team aside, designers for B&O don’t ever meet, we don’t have any cooperation with one another at all.”

“Today there’s too much pressure, not just for designers. It’s disappointing in a way. You can miss cool things — afterthoughts, great little ideas — in the design process because it goes so fast.”

“I think you can’t go out and ask people what they need or want because they don’t know. The whole trick is to come out with a product and say, “Have you thought of this?” and hear the consumer respond, “Wow! No, I hadn’t.” If you can do that, you’re on.”

Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce
“The mind doesnt know what the tongue wants.”

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