One of my regular client contact who works with a "cutting-edge" technology company invited me for an informal chat about a revolutionary new product idea. According to the client the product idea could potentially be a gold mine. I said wow! I also quickly landed up at their now-impressive office - once again. The earlier state of their office and the state of chairs is definitely bloggable sometime, I promise.
Powerpoint presentation with a cup of machine made coffee was my introduction to the grand new product idea. We will use the latest technology. Impressive! I must say.
So who are your users for the product? Hmm... let me think... the users is the XXXX industry in general.
No, I mean, who in the XXXX industry will use your product? The XXXX people who design new products will use it.
I think I need to make myself clear - what is the designation or job role of the person who will use this product? He is definitely the person who is an industry expert. I think he may be a VP or something...
What do you think this person will do using your proposed product? He will design new XXXX programs.
How many times do you think these programs change during a day? I dont think they change daily. Weekly? Nah. Monthly? May be, but I dont think so. 6 Monthly? I think so. 1 Year? Some may change... actually it depends on the XXXX company.
How do you think these products are designed? They analyze previous data, put in their hunches, see if the hunches are true, then they simulate the data, and then propose a new product.
Can I call up my XXXX manager, he may have some information about this industry? Sure... let me pick up another coffee... the office AC is working today.
Hey Jayram (my XXXX manager), can you tell me how XXXX products are designed and who designs them? In my company, a new product team designs these products and the team report to country head directly as these products are crucial to our bottomlines.
That's cool, but how do they think of new products? Market pressures, competitors, government policy changes, the reasons can be many. I can get you in touch with one of my friend's who works with that group, interested? Yup, I said.
So where are we? Can we meet up tomorrow, I have a meeting planned up before lunch. I will try to get all the user information that you need. Why dont you start thinking about the user interface. See navigation is simple, I have worked it out...when do you think wireframes can be ready? I need to show proof-of-concept in June and a beta launch by October... I am sure you will come up with something really nice looking...I liked the one you did with our web-based console some time back. Ok see ya tomorrow.
But... but... users?