Stop Listening to Your Customers

A session at SXSW Interactive 2011

Saturday 12th March, 2011

9:30am to 10:30am (CST)

A common assumption among startup entrepreneurs is that listening to potential customers is the best way to find out whether your product or idea will succeed in the market. Honestly - don't bother. In our ten years of user experience research for startups and big companies alike, one thing we've seen time and again is that it's behavior, not opinions, that tells you whether people want to use your product.

The main problem with opinions is self-reporting bias: Opinions are often inconsistent with behaviors or other attitudes, especially when discussing hypotheticals. Remember Clippy, the little character that appeared in Microsoft Word years ago? That little bastard arose, in part, from Microsoft asking users if they wanted help working on their documents - everyone said, "Sure, sounds great." But once people started actually using it in the real world, they hated it - it might be one of the most hated features in the history of computing. But Microsoft employs hundreds of researchers. So where did they go wrong, and how can you avoid making the same mistake?

It's simple. Never ask people what they think of your product or idea. Instead, I'll walk you through the world of researching people, including what you need to ignore customers effectively, just like Apple and 37 Signals. I'll go over examples from our research with Volkswagen, Electronic Arts, and Wikipedia, and show how to use remote research to construct behavioral scenarios and eliminate poor research.

LEVEL: Intermediate

About the speakers

This person is speaking at this event.
Mark Trammell

Mark. Young ragamuffin from the streets. French duke lying about in hammocks eating soft cheese. Chimney sweep. Friend of Tom. Obama HQ in my rearview. bio from Twitter

This person is speaking at this event.
Nate Bolt

I am taking extreme liberties. bio from Twitter

Next session in Salon C

11am Life After Y Combinator by Jessica Mah, Drew Houston, Dane Hurtubise and Brian Chesky

170 attendees

  • Aarron Walter
  • Jason Hartsell
  • patrickweir
  • adamerlebacher
  • Amy G
  • Adam Howell
  • Aimee Woodall
  • Allison Wagner
  • Joen
  • Andrew Cornett
  • Anna Debenham
  • Anna Manasova
  • ash_patel
  • Julian Burgess
  • Beau
  • Becky Minervino
  • Betsy Weber
  • Ryan McCormack
  • blastcap
  • Paul Boag
  • Rob Borley
  • nate bolt
  • briancarterKC
  • Robin Stevens
  • brynn evans
  • Bucky Flowers
  • burin
  • Keith Chu
  • Cennydd Bowles
  • Chad Roberts
  • Charlie Park
  • Chris Coyier
  • Christina Cacioppo
  • Paul Wheeler
  • Chris McKinney
  • Cliff Tyllick
  • Chris LoSacco
  • Cody Stoltman
  • Connor Sears
  • Craig
  • Michael Pusateri
  • Daniel Levine
  • Darby Frey
  • Dave Curry
  • David Mead
  • Dean Cruse
  • Dave DeSandro
  • Don Cruse
  • Louise
  • emisare
  • erwin blom
  • Peter van Aller
  • Jay Fanelli
  • jessica moreno
  • Davide 'Folletto' Casali
  • Caleb T.
  • Frank Hmeidan
  • Gabe Kangas
  • Dave Christensen
  • Gerard Ramos
  • Hanni Ross
  • Hans van de Bruggen
  • Heather Rasley
  • Heather Capri ツ
  • Héctor Ramos
  • Hillary Hartley
  • Greg Hoy
  • Hundert Grad
  • Javier Fadul
  • megan
  • Jack.
  • Jackie Balzer
  • Jaime Wilson
  • Bob Jansen
  • Jared Smith
  • Jason Rutherford
  • Jay Patel
  • Jay Morrow
  • Jeff Keen
  • Jeremy Fuksa
  • Jon Lax
  • Joe Baz
  • Johan Kuijt
  • johanna kollmann
  • Joris
  • Jory
  • Joshua Duncan
  • Wade Austin
  • kajsabengtsson
  • Bill Keaggy
  • Kevin M. Hoffman
  • kickme444
  • Kevin Smith
  • Katie Davison
  • Kyle West
  • Leah Culver
  • Marleen vd Brand
  • luciemclean
  • Lucius Kwok
  • lydiamann
  • Malthe Sigurdsson
  • Manix Kalv
  • Marcelo Somers
  • Mark Jaquith
  • Mark R. Andrus
  • Mark Brenneman
  • Martijn van Erp
  • Marty DeAngelo
  • Matt Keeler
  • Jeffery Bennett
  • Meghan Krane
  • Mark Hall
  • Micah Laney
  • Mike Stenhouse
  • Mike Krieger
  • Christian Metts
  • Jason Roy
  • Gene Smith
  • Mikael Nerde
  • Nick Downing
  • Pablo Tirado
  • Pete Kistler
  • peterdovren
  • Pierre Valade
  • Jason Lewis
  • Reinier Ladan
  • John Bragg
  • Rodrigo Del Castillo
  • Robert Leefmans
  • roycifer
  • Samuel Cole
  • Sarah Khan
  • Sarah Rapp
  • scottackerson
  • Sean Lynch
  • SeoulBrother
  • Seth McCall
  • Erik Michaels-Ober
  • Scott Phelps
  • Ryan Sims
  • Simon Doggett
  • Jason Silverstein
  • Lee Dale
  • Stef Brooijmans
  • Stephanie Fletcher
  • Steven Follis
  • Randy Stewart
  • steve hershberger
  • Marc Sexton
  • Captain Eric Willis
  • Lisa van Gelder
  • TechSmith
  • Thor Muller
  • Stefan Nowak
  • the daniel
  • Zach Pousman
  • Thomas Daly
  • Martin Thörnkvist
  • tim deSilva
  • Toph Tucker
  • Trammell
  • Trisha Jackson
  • Matt Wright
  • Martijn Verver
  • Vero Pepperrell
  • vikramtank
  • Whitney Hess
  • Stephen Wyatt Bush
  • Yvonne
  • Jeffrey Zeldman

130 trackers

  • Francesco D'Orazio
  • Jeremy Keith
  • Andrew G Davis
  • AJ Vaynerchuk
  • André Luís
  • Anonymous
  • Anthony Bruno
  • Arena Reed
  • Jacob Ela
  • Brad Dougherty
  • Beau
  • Meghan Searl
  • Sean Patrick Henry
  • Brett Bukowski
  • Bruno Alves Mendonça
  • Brian Truax
  • Chiara Bernasconi
  • Matt Jacobs
  • Cathie Toshach
  • changeorder
  • Chris Drackett
  • Chuy Hernández
  • Patricia Cich Lee
  • Chad Keck
  • Claudia Obata
  • Cliff Whitecoat
  • Colin Schlüter
  • Jasmine Trabelsi
  • Darren Delaye
  • David Ryan
  • David Coleman
  • Derek Curtis
  • David Nakayama
  • Annette
  • michael
  • Dan Phiffer
  • Emil Björklund
  • Esteban Uribe #CRC
  • David Thompson
  • Frank Chiachiere
  • Gina Trapani
  • Josh Clark
  • Gordon Kennedy
  • Gui Ambros
  • Hans verschooten
  • Herb Zoota
  • PF Samuelson
  • Josh Hallett
  • Ian McKellar
  • Iskander Smit
  • Jake Przespo
  • James Weiner
  • Joe Carey
  • Jen Lee Reeves
  • Jennifer Brook
  • Jenn Lukas
  • Jason Garber
  • Johannes Kleske
  • Jason Nakai
  • Joseph J Schmitt
  • José Padilla
  • John Payne
  • Orson Ka'ili
  • Francisco Kemeny
  • Kirsten Schelper
  • Michael Koukoullis
  • liangcw
  • Loulia Miller
  • Lance Roggendorff
  • Thorsten Lückemeier
  • Chrys Wu
  • Chris Carter
  • Ben Tesch
  • Mandy Shunk
  • Marcus Lillington
  • Matt Haughey
  • Matt Le Gresley
  • Danielle Szetho
  • mekalav
  • Justine Jordan
  • Lindi Horton
  • Georgetta Nicol
  • Maggie Steciuk
  • Natalie Downe
  • Nathan Peretic
  • Bradley Heilbrun
  • Herman Kuiper
  • Matt Reed
  • Patricia Marinho
  • Pelle Sten
  • Pessimist
  • Pete Hwang
  • peterkoechley
  • Peter Fasano
  • Phil Hawksworth
  • Brett Camper
  • @r4vi
  • rachelmercer
  • Ramin Ettehad
  • Rob Weychert
  • Ryan Kuder
  • Sabih Mir
  • Salim Virani
  • Sameer Halai
  • Tara
  • Schuyler Erle
  • Scott McCaughey
  • Scott Boms
  • Shannon Darrough
  • sean salmon
  • Shelley Cook
  • Sheryl Soo
  • Warren S
  • Adam Michela
  • Stacey Billups
  • Chris Toppon
  • Elisabeth Hoelzl
  • chris valdez
  • Lane Halley
  • Todd Budnikas
  • Alan Colmenares
  • Ted Leung
  • Tyler Graf
  • Tyson Evans
  • Eamonn Murphy
  • Alex Schaffert
  • Wilson Miner
  • Sebastian Gerhard
  • Chris Hamilton
  • Gavin Bell

Coverage of this session

Sign in to add slides, notes or videos to this session

Sign in to track this session

Tell your friends!

When

Time 9:30am10:30am CST

Date Sat 12th March 2011

Where

Salon C, Hilton Austin Downtown

Session type

Dual

Session Hash Tag

#StopLing

Short URL

lanyrd.com/scqtz

Official session page

schedule.sxsw.com/…event_IAP5845

View the schedule

Share

Topics

Books by speaker

  • Remote Research
  • Professional CSS, 2nd Edition
  • Adapting to Web Standards

See something wrong?

Report an issue with this session