Talking to Users

I just spent some time talking to a user about a design I made. I walked her through it and we started talking about the possibilities. The worst version of this exercise is when the user says, “I don’t know.” in response to questions. The best version of the exercise is when they get excited and start geeking out with you about it.

Account Based Marketing has so much space to innovate. All of the tools that currently exist fall way short of solving the use cases. It’s exciting talking to users who understand the space and understand what the design might grow up to be. When a user geeks out, you know you are on to something good.

When you are innovating, you need to show your work to potential users. You need to get feedback and be honest with yourself. If they say, “I guess I would like it.”, then you know that it’s terrible. When it is great, then they will make leaps of logic, leap past the design and describe how it will make life different.

Notice I am not describing “user testing”. There is no report, no analysis. It was a conversation, an exploration of ideas. It was simple and quick. 30 minutes on GotoMeeting. I showed PowerPoint design slides to tell the story. I took simple notes when particular interfaces caused confused.

When you need to talk to customers, go talk to customers. Don’t just assume the product manager knows what he/she is talking about. Get on the phone and talk to a customer. It’s not that hard to find them. I am terrible at organizing interviews, but somehow I get it accomplished. Right now, Calendly is my best friend. I love it.

At the end of the conversation I said, “I am going to change your whole life.”  And I meant it. Talk to users. Inspire them and they will inspire you.

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