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February 12, 2005


Diego from metacool

Hmmmm... I find the Forbes article a bit underwhelming. Sure, good designers listen and observe users as a source of inspiration for the design process, but when you start doing what GM did with the new "baby" Hummer and force your skilled, highly-trained designers to change the Visceral elements of their designs based on the feedback of visually uneducated critics, well, the train bound for Mediocrityville has already left the station.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for tapping in to the wisdom of crowds. Virgin Atlantic did it brilliantly with its recent "Chunks" contest, and Ducati routinely has its fans vote on the design (but not drive the shape of) of alternative versions of future motorcycles.

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John Winsor

Good thoughts, Diego. While I see your point it seems that too many companies do not let designers use their intuition by forcing their work through the horrors of focus groups. Anything that supports companies getting out from behind the one-way mirror and interacting with their customers in the context of their lives can only help them better support a good design process. This customer feedback highlighted in the article is no substitute for the process of design but is a way to get richer input.


Agreed. I think the trick is to distinguish between customer feedback used as inspiration versus feedback used as evaluation.

In my mind, if you want to create remarkable offerings, you need to trust the trained professionals you've hired to do the job. For qualitative things like look, feel, texture, sound... end customers shouldn't be used as a source of evaluation as they were in the Hummer example mentioned in Forbes.

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