I’m a big football fan. More accurately, I’m a big Liverpool FC fan – and, as any fan will know, this time of the year is particularly exciting. You see, we’re currently in the midst of the transfer window. Players being sold, players brought in – usually for ridiculous sums of money – all in preparation for the new season.
A copy of Think Like a Freak was an enjoyable and quickly consumed Christmas present, and it has led me to wonder out loud about the value of asking users for feedback on websites and apps.
A Traditional Method for Problem Solving
So you aren’t feeling well: a little nauseous, a bit tired and deflated. You’re guessing it’s nothing too serious – for the majority of your faculties are behaving as they should. But still, it’s always good to know, and you pop down to the GP for a quick check-up.
The queue in the waiting room means your GP probably won’t use all the tools at his disposal. And even though you know full well that he enjoys and endures the foibles and flaws that are incumbent in all men (and women), he delivers a reassurance and direction that comes from training, knowledge and, most importantly, experience.
Although you own your body and you are the only person who knows every pleasure and every rigour that it’s been through, you will listen and learn. It is an implicit trust based on the promise that you will gain from his expertise.
Several years ago, usability testing on the web was a bit of a myth. Few people had heard of it and only web giants like Amazon or Ebay could afford the time or resources to invest in carrying it out properly. Fast forward 10 years and the practice, now commonly known as user experience (or UX), is a huge industry worth millions worldwide.
Early last year, I was clocked doing 72 miles per hour in a 60 zone not far from my house.
A few days later, when the penalty notice arrived through my door, it was accompanied by an invitation to a driver’s awareness course, rewarded by the quashing of the three points all set to blot my clean record.
In life there are sometimes very tough decisions to be made. This really wasn’t one of those times, so off I went and enrolled.
Something stirred with me last week on hearing that the Twitter pipeline has private groups on the horizon. If executed well, there’s a strong chance it could be the most significant advance in Twitter since, well, the first Tweet.
The thirst among us for short form messaging is obvious, for apparently there’s over half a billion people active on Whatsapp; roughly 100 populations of Ireland whizzing throwaway content to each other every day.
The first website I published was in 1998, when I’d the smart idea of building an “interactive” website in an attempt to win my group bonus marks for coursework.
It took forever to build, and in a true spirit of comradery, the rest of the group left me to it for nights on end.
It did get us a few marks. The hardest earned marks of my life.
But it was rubbish.
On the face of it I’m maybe not the best person to deliver an opinion piece centred upon eyewear, for I’m one of the fortunate ones who, some 37 years on in the world, still hasn’t needed to visit an optician.
I wasn’t the young child who “failed” their eye test and subsequently got wound up by their siblings. I’ve never had reason to memorise the Snellen chart. I wasn’t the 1970s/1980s school kid whose “good glasses” were kept safely at home, replaced in day-to-day life with the brown thick-rimmed NHS badges of dubious honour. I’ve never had to look through my pockets or bags for a chunky glasses case in my “right, have I got everything?” checks.
One of the most celebrated quotes in user research and product development is generally attributed to Henry Ford:
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
I say attributed because a consensus exists among researchers that he didn’t actually say these famous words.