Never Ask What They Want — 3 Better Questions to Ask in User Interviews
Charles Liu
2.1K25

When was the last time I didn’t do what the user asked for?

Every time. :) At Maven7 we deliver business intelligence visualizations. During a customer discovery interview the user told us:

“ I want super flexibly adjustable visualizations, because I want to customize them, every single aspect of them.”

What would that do for you?

“Well… when I last presented the results to the board I spent a hell lot of time exporting the visualizations and then editing the color, the size of elements, borders, the text size, etc… Why can’t I do this within OrgMapper”

What did all those edits do for you?

“I just wanted the executives to immediately notice the important patterns.”

So after all the user’s problem was that the insights weren’t salient enough on the complex visualizations. How did we cure this? Not by adding another 100 controls and drown of feature creep. With another couple of interviews we distilled what pieces of information were important for the users, visualized those aspects and ditched all the other aspects (except for a minimal contextual information that helps understanding).

We “inherited” the old clunky visualization interface, and supported by customer research we were able to get rid of 40 (!) unnecessary controls. It feels great even saying that.

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