Is The Mobile User Always Right?
Listening to a podcast the other day, I heard a business leader say the most inaccurate business idiom is, “the customer is always right.” His logic being that, most customers do not know what they really need, merely focusing on what they have at the present and how it can be better.
There is a lot of truth to this, and something that we can apply in our mobile experiences. Our users, or customers, are typically bound by the reality of their present capabilities. We talk about doing this faster, smarter, or easier. But do we talk about doing it differently? Not just round peg in a square hole different, but cucumbers in a fruit salad different (I know, that’s not a thing, that’s the point).
See related: Going Beyond Mobile-First: What’s Next?
Saying we want drastic innovation, and actually getting it are two different things though. We cannot just talk to our customers. If we do we will likely hear the same constrained objections. We need to learn to live the life of the customer, ingrain ourselves in their experiences and explore the minds of those leading mobile change for areas that converge. Do not be afraid to take chances, the mobile landscape is still moving too fast to wait and see how it develops. Define your metrics for success, and dedicate time to A/B testing to see which experience matches the results you have in mind. You might fail, you might succeed beyond your wildest expectations. But you will definitely fail if you don’t try.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” -Tony Robbins.
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Along with this, we must be open minded to the idea that needs will change. It may be because the technology changes, or capabilities advance, but we cannot assume that the experience we have designed will have a multi-year shelf life. Keep in mind your original metrics and continually monitor them. When they start to dip, ask why. Some changes may not be cause for concern, but there is likely a reason for the change. Similarly, if your metrics don’t change quarter over quarter, that doesn’t mean all is well. Continually question your numbers and your users. Anticipate change before you are forced to, and, again, do not be afraid to take a risk.
So in the end, the customer is always right, they just don’t know how to tell you what you need to hear.
Oh, by the way, cucumber is a fruit.