Please excuse this wanton copy-paste
The article is good in its entirety but this is the best bit of this ThinkVitamin [waybackmachine] article Kevin Hale of Wufoo talks UX, Funding, Startups and API integration [waybackmachine]…
Because we’re a small team that desires to stay a small team, everyone has to wear multiple hats in our company and that includes manning the inbox and doing customer support every single week. One of the interesting side effects of having a company where everyone has to answer support emails, is that everyone has a stake in making sure application is as easy to use as possible. We actually call this approach to designing software Support Driven Development and it’s been really great for us.
The priorities and desire for simplicity and clarity are actually the result of people wanting to make their weekly support interactions as few and positive as possible. Getting a feature into Wufoo that adds unnecessary complexity is a big no-no in our company. In fact, we make adding any element to the interface the hardest thing possible in our design process. Every button, every word, every link, every switch is scrutinized to make sure it’s absolutely necessary and won’t generate a future support request.
Additionally, users are also really bad at both explaining what they need and what other people need. It’s just part of human nature to justify biases rather than consider needs objectively from the vantage point of what’s good for the community and the future of the app itself. This is not to say you shouldn’t bother with your users (or your designer’s intuition) when you’re building your product or considering new features.
I sincerely believe that users are the key (and intuition does help), but you have to realize that user interface studies have shown time and again that what you have to trust is what the users DO and not what they SAY, which is why getting an interface out there quickly and used in an observable way is crucial. After that, it’s all just successful iterations based on feedback from those on the ground.