Translating customer signals in Kindle Fire design
We regularly observe, interview and listen to customers in our design projects. But it’s important to not take the customer’s word or action literally. Instead, we translate what their actions mean for the design of the product or service.
I was reminded of this again reading an old review of the Kindle Fire by Jakob Nielsen. As an expert, Nielsen was “disappointed” with the tablet, noting the many flaws he saw in its design and that users experienced during testing. However, when asked if the test users were disappointed, Nielsen noted :
“..some users were pretty happy with it. If you compare using the Kindle Fire to a smartphone it feels quite nice with the bigger screen. If you don’t realize how much better it can be you might not see that there are problems…”
It takes an expert view to place the user’s experiences in context, and set the bar even higher for a meaningful customer experience.
And, I would recommend that Nielsen conduct observations of real customers using the Fire , not just simulated testing in a lab. I suspect then that users wouldn’t have been so forgiving.