Is a customer-centric worldview utopian?
October 26, 2004 at 2:14 PM
Wow. Let me say that again, wow! Mark Hurst writes perhaps one of the most enlightening articles I have read all year. His article is duly entitled Introducing the Customer-Centric Worldview. But don't judge the article by its title. Read it for yourself, all the way through. This is exactly why I think it is so important to do qualitative as well as quantitative research on a web site (see: Informed Web Design). Don't just know thy user, cater to thy user. We are stuck in a world where sometimes the clients business objectives out weigh the user objectives in the interest of, well, doing business. I think the client's business objectives are important, but perhaps equally or less so than the user's objectives. A good series of checks and balances need to be in place here. Which brings me to my question: is this a utopian pipe dream? I don't think so. I think with enough due diligence we can get businesses to start seeing things from the eyes of the customer for the greater good. What are your thoughts? [from Asterisk]
I have been known to utter *if there are no users you don't have a business* and then ask who they think is important and needs the focus. This is usually not to a client of mine and it often turns things around and gets the business listening. This said, it is imperative to understand the business and work with their limits and guidance. I have gone out and hired another designer and developer that would build the mess the customer wanted, it makes us both happier, unfortunately it does not make the user happy.
Thomas: Exactly... and then there are those projects that go full circle; because of their insistance to put the business needs before the user needs they end up with the same design or IA they started out with... which isn't working.
"if there are no users you don't have a business" I couldn't agree more. If any business school doesn't teach this first off, it isn't worth its salt. Then again... If every business person believed this, then I suspect mich less business would get done. Venture capital has a large part to play in business, I think - particularly computer businesses. The company I work for is primarily owned by VC. VCs take punts, basically: throw some money at something that might make money. Business are started, people get jobs, contractors get contracts, products might even be made. All without users. So, I think the idea is in part a utopian ideal. Because a fair bit of our economy, and thus our society, is run on a different idea.