I read an article the other day about a guy called Frederic Tudor who after travelling to West Indies, saw the great opportunity to fill a gap in the market. For years living in New England, enjoying the benefits of ice (cooling drinks and making ice cream etc.) he saw that the people in the Caribbean with their hot weather and high humidity would benefit from ice.
After finally finding a way to ship and store ice in the Caribbean, he found the locals had no interest in his product. They simply had no idea what to do it with it. But after sticking with it for 15 years he managed to get ice to move from being a curiosity, to a luxury and then to a necessity. His perseverance paid off because by the time he died he was worth $200m dollars.
This fascinating story had me drawing parallels with user testing. When I started my career user testing was just moving from curiosity to luxury. For a long time user testing was seen as a luxury add-on that was always the first thing to be dropped from the project as soon as budgets were squeezed.
Today it feels as though we are finally seeing user testing move from a luxury to a necessity. Businesses recognise the importance of testing with users. Users demand it to by choosing to buy from people who work hard to make their life easier to use.
What do you think? Is user testing now a necessity or still a luxury for some?
Oli is our Head of UX and with 10 years’ experience in UX he still has a thirst for learning more about users and how to solve their issues. Oli’s an expert in finance and ecommerce UX having led projects for Siemens, Financial Times and LV= as well as Liz Earle, Bodyshop and Burberry. He is married with a daughter and has another one on the way.