observation archives

I read Jakob Nielsen’s latest AlertBox today, and wondered—even with all his caveats—what planet he lives on, suggesting that content sites should quiz their users to improve retention. I can’t see that working for any but a fraction of educational and maybe training sites. Unless maybe it was a user-initiated link: “Want to remember this tomorrow? Take a quiz!” (Which most users would probably ignore or find annoying anyway.)

On the up-side, the article contained a link to an older and more palatable article on the first rule of usability: Don’t listen to users (meaning watch and listen, don’t just listen).

posted by ted 10 hours ago

OXO’s angled measuring cup, via an article on Good Experience: “Customers never said they wanted an angled measuring cup. In fact, users weren’t even aware that there was a problem to be solved. Consumers didn’t say, “I wish I could read the markings more easily.” They muddled through without complaint. And yet the innovation came directly from observing customers. How? Simply by observing the customer experience.”

(By the way—this brand appears to be sold at Kohl’s; Bed, Bath & Beyond; and Sears to name a few… so I might just drop in a buy there rather than pay shipping…)

posted by ted on Wednesday, Aug 18, 2010

“How important is the voice of the customer? Very. But discerning the difference between what customers are able to say and what they want, and then acting on those unspoken desires, demands that companies learn to go well beyond listening.”
Dorothy Leonard, speaking of the importance of focusing on observation and desired outcomes rather than specific customer-proposed solutions, in “The Limitations of Listening,” Harvard Business Review, January 2002.

posted by ted on Tuesday, Jun 02, 2009