Users are not Designers and Designers and not Users

Users are not designers. You can ask them what they want but they can only give you insight into the incremental improvement that they are concerned with their immediate needs. They do not have your aggregated insight that you have across your customers and new technologies.

Designers are not users. They may guess what users want – but it’s just guessing… It could be smart guesses based on industry standards and design best practices – but there is no guarantee that this is what your customers want.

The only way to innovate is to watch your customers use your solution and learn all the things that they cannot tell you because they don’t even know they are doing it. Watch for opportunities to introduce game-changing features that will drastically improve the experience.

Vet your assumptions early in the process with your target market. Conduct iterative design reviews with your customers to validate your design and evaluate your solutions with the actual end-users of the experience.