Thursday, February 09, 2006

Knowing When to Ignore Your Users

I like reading Joel on Software. We use FogBugz at work, and use many of his suggestions on specifications, painless schedules, etc. However, when I read this I just said "huh?"

"Understand enough about time zones so I can enter a flight. Flights from New Zealand to Los Angeles arrive before they departed. It's confusing but it's true and if I can't enter them properly on my calendar I'm back to typing itineraries in Word."

So, apparently Mr. Spolsky is making so many flights between New Zealand and Los Angeles that not being able to record the departure and arrival times properly makes these systems unusable. Not only that, but he must also believe that a sizable enough portion of the potential users of these sites will also be in this quandary. I know that Peter Jackson has made New Zealand popular, but let's keep this in perspective.

Users will always have a laundry list of "must have" features that they are asking you for. The trick is knowing when to listen, and when to ignore them. Maybe if Mr. Spolsky were a paying user of one of these services, they might think of accommodating him...


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