100% agree, Giovanni. Actually, what you wrote about happens only too often in the technology world, right? Making features nobody wants, because they are possible and perhaps one day one customer might need it.

I remember a great story from my Google friend — they were designing the hotel search and they put in this nice feature that shows you the touristic area of a given city (pretty neat in my perception). Marcin (my friend) was describing their approach at a conference. After he was done one guy asked this very question: — But what if I came to a congress of hamster breeders that took place in the outskirts. You feature wouldn’t have helped me…

Marcin wittingly replied: — Indeed, our goal was not to satisfy the hamster breeders. But we needed to focus on the people who are likely to use our feature over and over again. And these are tourists who keep on going on the trips year in year out.

This is one perspective of empathy to me. Know who you design for.

The other one relates to overdelivering the stuff that doesn’t quite answer the actual need (like the so well spot on example of wine vs juice). How often have we came up, as a design team, with ideas only to find out that our customers wouldn’t care less. I’ve got a ton of such examples :) I would say I am happy we created these ideas and tested them, but the happiest I am that we had the guts to drop them once we saw the response from the customers. Because, what I think is this: in the (overally positive) attempt to overdeliver, many companies are not able to keep the perspective on what ideas to implement and which to trash. And they don’t understand that overdelivering on the wrong stuff is as bad as overpromising on the right stuff. In both cases customers feel that the money they spend on a product or a service is badly used. Which makes them annoyed in the least…

“The Umami Strategy: Stand out by mixing business with experience design”, www.seed-cards.com www.catchingthenextwavepodcast.com

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