I often hear people saying, ‘I have a great idea, why don’t we do..’ or ‘I have seen a great website with this feature I want to do the same’ and variants thereof…
Indeed, I have been known to do the same myself.
However who are these things for, be they software, a service, or a product?
Are we trying to make our egos feel better; or have something ‘innovative’ to add to our staff reports; or do we just want to do something different because we can?
As a well known quote goes ‘with great power comes great responsibility’.
Or to put it another way ‘just because we can, it does not mean that we should’.
What about the user?
A user is the person or people who might want to use your software, service or product.
In another guise it could be one of us when we do our shopping online, buy cinema tickets, or download a new tune. We are all users at some point. Remember that site that drove you mad recently, or the one that worked smoothly? How many of these took their users into account.
So what can we do about it? What is our ‘great responsibility’?
Well a good start would be to look at this excellent piece of work by the Government Digital Service their Service Design Manual. GDS have drew up this manual to help government organisations design cost-effective, user focussed online services.
Have a browse, particularly the section on Discovery when user needs are researched before a new product is developed. It sounds so obvious but do we always follow these principles?
I am hoping to do use this manual more in the future so do not be surprised if when you say to me ‘I have a great idea’ that I send you the link above – you have been warned.