Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Forget What You Know.

While I always gain hugely from reading Kathy's posts and the abundant comments, it constantly strikes me how many of the latter make direct reference to software development.

Now I know that's her core readership, but (especially when talking about user needs and experience) it's revealing how comforting it is for people to contextualise their comments/thinking within their work expertise. This happens in all industries, of course, yet as a non-geek it is always disconcerting when a comment suddenly starts talking a seemingly foreign language of jargon and technical terms.

However, our work experience is not our only experience (let's hope) and greater revelations will emerge if we put ourselves in true user mode. Since, in this day and age, functionality must be a given, this means thinking beyond that. Reframe your mindset from one of relative expertise to one of how you feel as user in areas in which you are non-expert and, by implication, at the mercy of the supplier.

Focus, as you would in those situations, in terms of the feelings that need to be met, the fears that need to be assuaged - then you will truly be in user mode and that is where the real insights lie.


Blogger ME Strauss said...

I'm so with you, John.
My best ideas and solutions come when I'm just outside of my area of expertise, or when I've not participated in the groundwork thinking and I'm forced to take the role of asking questions of how folks got there.

That's when I'll have a "left-field" observation that's not based in some past decision. It's also way more fun. :)


8:47 AM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger john dodds said...

Thanks Liz, I think that when you avoid your area of expertise you both focus more clearly on the underlying fundamentals and avoid the distraction of industry-specific details.

10:21 AM, January 09, 2007  
Anonymous Gavin Heaton said...

Having straddled the geek/non-geek world for a while, it is clear that "software development" is considered to be closer to a lifestyle choice than a "job". This explains, at least in part, why putting oneself into true user mode is relatively difficult for many developers.

It may also be that software development attracts certain personality types -- but that is a whole other story.

For many geeks, it's not what you know, it is the person you are (or see yourself to be).

2:45 AM, January 11, 2007  
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