martes, 14 de junio de 2011

Session with users: The Naked Truth and Pretotyping practices

Today, I've participated in a work session with candidates at InfoJobs, what we call "Mesa de Trabajo con Candidatos".
As a company, we do this kind of meetings regulary, at least once a month, to get candid, hot and real information of our users about our products, new services or developments.
Inquiring people of flesh and bones we can get these nuances that we can't get from a cold email or information fulfilled in a form.
Despite these positive aspects, sometimes this kind of meeting can be a bit frustrating (at the beginning).
Imagine you are the owner of a product that you have conceibed after a big research, lots of hours of work with  hard illusion, thinking that your product is the best ever invented in the whole world. Then you show a prototype of your product to a group of users. . . but they have some troubles to understand, to use, to apreciate the value. . .
The world falls on you.
This is The Naked Truth, the moment of the truth, the real world!
What one designs over a sheet of paper should be tested at the early stages of its live to check whether the product is well underway or not and stop the project or reorient it. More or less, this is the idea of Pretotyping  Manifesto.
After the first frustration feeling (because the idea is rejected, bad implemented or something similar. . . ), a new world of opportunities appears in front of you. Imagine the same situation at the end of the project, just before the launching process! I never wouldn't be there!
Keeping this on mind you are collecting valuable information at the begining of the project and you can solve some small and cheap issues at this stage of the project. Correcting the same issues at the end of the project should be more difficult and expensive.
Moral of the tale

  1. takes every opportunity to receive real feedback; 
  2. the small detail can convert your product in a failure product or a sucess product; 
  3. let users express with their words, don't conditionate their thougths; 
  4. repeat the exercise after each improvement to see if the new implementation corrects the precious errors; save money with this approach; 
  5. don't lie yourself, your users can't all the world: identify the right users for your product and then use the right style and tone to communicate with your users.

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