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123

Users are bad at asking for what they need and great at asking for what they want. Anecdotal evidence from my own recent experience: We have a department that asked for a button that would generate a PDF report about some data. A few months later they asked for the report in the form of a spreadsheet. A few months after that they asked for additional ...


109

Here are two examples, one online and one offline 1. Train arrivals Subway passengers frustrated with waiting for trains routinely ask for more trains on the track. For metropolitan transit agencies globally, this is obviously a very expensive request. Analysis of passenger needs reveals that the uncertainty around the wait is as important as the ...


65

If you've seen The Simpsons episode "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou," you should remember what happened when Homer's half-brother gave him free reign over designing a car "for the average schmuck." The end result was expensive and looked ridiculous and didn't truly meet the user's needs, even though it had all the features he wanted. If the company truly ...


40

Let's start with an old one from the Ford's founder: (Although there isn't actually any evidence Ford ever said it. Thanks to user Evil Closet Monkey for the disclaimer.) The UX Designer View Why is it important to know why they want what they think they want?: Simply because as a UX designer you should be the one designing the best solution and in ...


31

There are two issues that make focusing on user requests at face value problematic. The first is known as The Einstellung Effect This is a negative effect of pattern-following on finding optimal solutions: Einstellung is the development of a mechanized state of mind. Often called a problem solving set, Einstellung refers to a person's ...


21

Try to distinguish between what users want and how they want it done. Taking your example above, users wanting one vs. two input boxes is all about the how. The what is being able to paste comma-separated coordinate pairs vs. not having to press comma. (Or, for some users, being able to simply press comma rather than having to click a second input box.) In ...


16

My anecdote: We were bulding a new version of a computerized machine. One requirement was to boot it in 30 seconds. We failed it by orders of magnitude. It created a big outcry. We asked why and heard that they had lost a lot of production time with the last version, because it crashed so often and needed to be rebooted quite frequently. Our new version was ...


15

You can't please everyone Most changes or additions will leave some people behind. They may catch up later, they may hate you forever. Shoot for net gain in the experience. If you avoid negative feedback, you avoid progress. It helps to keep a destination in your sights. Focus on an established list of goals for the long term vision of the product and the ...


10

As engineers we were given the example of the newly-opened office tower block. It was fitted with 3 lifts. As the tenants filled the building complaints arrived that the office workers were having to wait too long for the lift. Cue expensive consultants to revise the lifts' queuing algorithm. No reduction in complaints. Cue assessment of building an ...


8

If the exams option is always empty, then the users will (at some point, depending on the individual person) give up checking that menu option. If there is no mechanism in the application to draw the attention to new exams that appear, then you have a usability issue. Your suggestion is one way to indicate the "new items" idea, but it is not necessarily ...


8

I am a software designer and run into this problem all the time. The problem with many non technical people is they don't get abstraction. They truly cannot step back and articulate the functional requirement. Their perception is I have a problem I need this button. When they are asked to describe the problem they either can't or won't. The people least ...


6

My anecdote: Maybe 25 years ago, I was doing contract work for a municipal Utilities Billing group. The existing package was good, but primary inquiry into customer accounts required too many screens to get many customer questions answered quickly. Since I did almost all troubleshooting over a couple years and I regularly needed some kind of overview into ...


6

User requests are usually formed based on what the user perceives to be a solution to their problem. The thing is, their solution may not be the best solution, and in fact, it may not even solve their problem at all. Many questions on StackExchange are asking how to fix a partial solution, rather than asking for a better solution to the actual problem they ...


4

I think this classic software engineering image is worth adding in. It's not just a problem with the customer - you get confusion everywhere. Plus it's not even really a UX job to figure it out. My experience has been that it is where decent project managers are worth huge amounts from the time saved by clearing out the confusion and being able to talk ...


3

Accommodate both! In this case, your users told you exactly what they were missing in the old version (in this example, easy copy/paste). So create a new way that meets both sets of requirements. Generally speaking, say the old way offered Features A and B, and the new way still supported Feature B, lost feature A, but added feature C. Users said they ...


2

I know this could be off the chart but just want to share this


2

Example: user's real-life name has changed. In many systems, a username is based on the user's proper name, e.g. given name initial plus family name "jsmith"; over time, these users may change their names, and wish their system username to change to match. One particularly sensitive example is if a person divorces, and reverts from their married name to ...


2

If you have feature requests, complaints or questions on your forum or even public places (StackExchange, Quora etc) from your users asking for solutions to problems that normally should already be solved by the implemented features, then you need to rework that part. If you have very low usage with no requests then it is safe to assume is not something ...


2

Simply because that's your job to create a solution that answers user needs, and it's expected you know better than they do, otherwise they would get your job. I guess I should begin by saying that listening to their requests can be a good thing. Because users aren't complete idiots, they're well aware of their problems and needs seeing how they've been ...


2

Many answers here describe the problems with user/customer requests so I think i shouldn't repeat why you should do finding out what users realy need. I just want to give a hint how to do it: What users realy need is called requirements. And its the job of every engineer (or - should be) to find out what these requirements are, because users can't ...


1

Why is important to focus on user needs as opposed to requests? Here's an example of what we faced. The Product Team came to the Development Team and asked for a survey form to be built in order to collect data. The Development Team specifically asked if the Product Team planned on making any future surveys. They said no. The Development Team decided to ...


1

I think it depends on the type of feature you want to show / hide Incase you are working on a consumer / creative app like say a presentation software or a cartoon maker or a video editor etc. (please excuse the silly examples) In these, the user can choose items / effects / characters / tools etc. In this case, you can easily grey out the PRO elements from ...


1

I would say that: show it at the first place but disable (disabled button/text) Is the right approach as it gives users an idea about how their "expertise" rewards them as well as an idea about what they need to to do in order to achieve progress towards a desired set of goals. the review feature in UX.SE offers a good example of progressive ...


1

I agree that directing to different pages based on the state is confusing. Also, it will be annoying if the user just wants to perform some other task and is interrupted by the connection request. It would be better just to highlight the connection requests more. You could, for example, put a prominent notification near the top of the site, which persists ...


1

A user typically chooses to filter by brand because they want to see products from that brand, regardless of how many products there are. Listing the brands in alphabetical order is therefore sensible because it makes it easier to find the desired brand in the list, compared to presenting them in a random order. It is still useful to know how many products ...


1

One book I'm going through now is Interactive Design by Andy Pratt & Jason Nunes. It focuses on UX in general, but introduces you to UX practices and methods through real-life examples, which in turn gets you thinking about how to consider it in your own application. It covers some design principles, such as Affordance" and gives concrete examples of ...


1

FavBrowser as very good ones for the specific case of Internet Explorer 6: Why People are Still Using Internet Explorer 6? You Seem to Be Using IE6 Internet Explorer 6 Motivation How To Deal With People That Use Internet Explorer 6 Internet Explorer 6 CSS Mess


1

I personally don't like the idea of graceful degradation, especially now that almost every new Windows PC from an OEM ships with Chrome preinstalled and Mac's should mostly have some sort of version of Safari that supports most HTML5 features. One approach is that the app is either fully supported or it doesn't work and the user is pointed to a free web ...


1

You use the data to answer questions. So: If you know the questions you are asking, gather the data you need to answer your questions. If you don't yet know the questions you are asking, gather everything (or as much as possible and practical).


1

Does it matter how many users use a certain feature for it to be implemented? Off course it is, but as Stephen has said, this is much more of a product management business than UX (particularly as you talk about implementation), but UXers may be the ones deciding priorities as well. Coding We do quite some coding in UX. Perhaps the most obvious place ...



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