A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Last fall, I spent two days at a regional operations center for a large transportation company.  I was working with a team that was redesigning a fleet management device.  We ran brief Pain Point Interviews with many of the truckers in order to understand what worked well and what hurdles they faced with their current devices.

trucker in cabMost of these interviews were conducted in a common lounge area.  But a few of the truckers had time to give us a tour of their cabs.  We asked the same questions.  But this time, sitting behind the wheel, reaching over, and explaining their experiences, we were able to see the reality of our previous design decisions.

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Customers Design the Feature Set

Nothing in this world is free.  And you are reminded of that fact every time you decide which features you’ll include in your service. Customers want more features at a lower price tag.

However, the more features you add, the more your service gets lost in the vortex of commoditization.

fHowever, the more features you add, the more your service gets lost in the vortex of commoditization.  This is a no-win game where you try to keep up with your competitors by including every feature they include.  In the end, customers cannot differentiate between services that are loaded with the same unnecessary features.

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Users Know What They Don’t Need

Henry Ford famously stated, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Did Ford’s contemporaries really want a faster horse?  What if they wanted go to from Los Angeles to San Francisco?  A faster horse was a moot point.  The real issue was that Ford’s contemporaries wanted to go farther distances with more autonomy.

To this day, companies keep asking their customers what they want.  And customers repeatedly request iterations: better, faster, and more reliable versions of the products and services they currently use.

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