Actual vs desired use

There is often a difference between what you want people to use your product for and what it’s actually used for. Don’t confuse the two. Don’t be happy simply because people are using it…know exactly what they are using it for.

Be honest about how people are actually using your product and interact enough with them so you’re sure of it. In some cases it won’t be what you intended. Don’t ignore this! Dig in, and find out what value they are getting from it. You may be able to help them get even more value by redesigning part of your product to even better support what they’re trying to do.

In other cases people might be using your product incorrectly…or not as you desired. Maybe they haven’t learned the right way to use it, or maybe your initial design isn’t very effective at teaching them the right way to use it. If this is the case then you still need to redesign to fix it.

At all costs avoid the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario is when people are using a product in an unintended way and you the product designer don’t know about it. That’s what you want to avoid at all costs…because when you do find out it will probably be too late.

Published: February 21st, 2014