Last week, Dmitry proposed the idea that you can't design a user experience. In some ways he's right; you can't know how users will react to a design until they've had the chance to interact with it. At ZURB, we're fortunate that Verify and Notable have active users who are happy to share their real-time reactions with the support team. This gives us plenty of chances to catch broken interactions before they cause too much trouble.
Customers don't always know where their frustration is coming from; all they know is that they've encountered a problem that they want you to solve. For this reason, we ask why 5 times whenever possible. Digging deep into a support question will help expose poor interactions that you might might otherwise miss. Here is an example from a recent Notable support conversation:
Customer: I tried sharing an image three different times and (none) of them worked. Either sharing just happened to not work those three times or I'm an idiot and can't figure it out.
Why isn't the customer able to share images with their team? In situations like this, I head straight for the "is the computer plugged in?" answer first, just to eliminate it from the equation. "Sharing is broken," was my first thought. I immediately tested out Notable's sharing modal, and was relieved to find that sharing worked successfully.
Why isn't the customer able to share images with their team? With the obvious answer out of the way, my next guess was that something specific was going on with this user. The customer is missing one of the steps when using our sharing modal. I shot over a reply to help coach the customer through sharing with Notable, and received this back:
Customer: I didn't realize that you had to hit Enter after you type in an email address to add it to the list. After I entered in an email, I would just hit tab or move my mouse to go to the next field thereby not adding the email to the list below.
I could have stopped here, satisfied that the customer's question had been answered; they now know how to share posts in Notable. Instead, I asked why one more time: why didn't the customer realize that he had to hit Enter to add an email address to the sharing list?
That last why took me to our sharing modal, where the answer hit me almost immediately: we never told our customers what they were supposed to do. How could we have possibly expected them to figure it out on their own? Based on this realization, we're adding a small change to the modal to let customers know to hit Enter after typing an email address.
In this scenario, it only took three "whys" to uncover a valuable improvement to Notable. We could still dig deeper by asking a fourth time: why didn't we put a reminder in the modal to begin with? Beyond this, who knows where a fifth why would take us, but we've gained important insight already by refusing to be satisfied and digging deeper into the problem at hand.