Design Story
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Design Story

People, not users.

People, not users

Your users are people. What do they need? What do they like to do? What is their life like?

Where are they located? How are they using your product? What is the story of their life? How does your product fit into their narrative? They are the stars of the show. Your product is just the way home.

Your users aren’t percentages. Your users aren’t dormant or active or anything else. Your users are people. They grew-up somewhere. They have a favorite band, a first kiss, personal triumphs and unforgettable disappointments. Every one of your users is a person who brings to your product their entire life story.

Where to start:

Show your product to 5 people. Don’t explain it. Just watch. Ask them to talk through what they are thinking. Watch them try to figure out what your product is all about. Watch them skim, click, dismiss. Watch them ignore your new feature. Watch them try to get direct answers to basic questions. Watch them fail to see your save button (which is inexplicably suddenly more hidden than a forgotten sock left in the dryer or the lost sunglasses on the top of your head). Watch them get bored with the burden of trying to find something they actually want from your product.


Watch them delight when you deliver—just before the moment they realize they want it—exactly what they need.

High-five. Repeat.

Read more #designstory posts.




Complements to the human condition.

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James Buckhouse

James Buckhouse

Design Partner at Sequoia, Founder of Sequoia Design Lab. Past: Twitter, Dreamworks. Guest lecturer at Stanford’s GSB &

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