Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Real People

N900 has been on the market for more then a month now…Time flies…
The buzz is continuing and sales seem to have started very, very, very well…
I am obviously happy about all this…But actually something else is making my day.

For months and months, we have been designing a ground-breaking product for Nokia in a completely closed environment.
Off course, designers have designed, architects have "architected", developers have developed, and managers have managed. We have done feasibility studies, we have done usability studies, we know more or less where we succeeded, and we know more or less where we still need to improve. And we have been endlessly testing the device and doing endless amount of modifications with customer satisfaction in mind.

But all this is no substitute for reality that is to say: real people using the device in their real environment

The fact remains: when you are designing such a product, you need to have an intuition for what the customer wants and this intuition drives every single one of your actions for months.
There are tools, methods and process that you can use to measure how good you are doing along the way, but in the end it is all about the intuition and the strength of the confidence that you put behind it to drive the work…and eventually it all boils down to the time when the device gets in the hands of the customer.
Are they going to like the browser? The multiple home-screen? What about the conversation views? Are they going to notice this and that feature? All this gets resolved magically within couple of weeks.

I was not the only one starving for this. Last week-end, some of our guys from our application testing team went to do a couple of days of internship at our flagship store. They actually sold our device during a whole day and got confronted to customers themselves. The feedback we got from the guys was quite outstanding; some said the experience was simply tremendous.
With the huge coverage the N900 has been getting, no need to say that we have on our hand a unique opportunity to grow our knowledge and experience on the matter. We need to leverage this.

I myself will probably see you around at the Nokia Flagship store somewhere in the winter.

Wishing you a happy new year.


Corsac said...

Looking at bugzilla and brainstorms might be a good idea. A lot of reports have been made there...

Anonymous said...

Well written post. Got to agree with what Corsac said, check out the maemo.org bugzilla and the brainstorms in there. That way you will get to know what to improve...

Tero Kojo said...

Excellent post.

As to what Corsac said above. We need to market Brainstorm more inside Nokia (maybe after next week when the servers are up to it).
Bugzilla monitoring is ok, many thanks to Andre, but we can improve Nokia presence there too.

And I do recommend the Flagship store visit. Incredible experience and something completely different from a normal day at the office :-)

Viipottaja said...

Great post indeed. BUT do I read it wrong or are you implying that you did little or no focus group tests etc. with the actual product/OS/UI before it was put out to the stores? You make it sound as if the encounters of your staff with the customers were the first time they actually saw the reactions of "real people". :)

I certainly hope and almost pray for Nokia's and my own Maemo usage future's sake that I am not reading this correctly. :)

To me it would seem that such interactions must be an early and continuos part of the development proces (obviously within the limits allowed by commercial privacy considerations).

Also, to me it would seem that reading the brainstorms and community ideas on how to further develop the product should be mandatory reading for a lot of your team. Having said that, I realise that the active Maemo.org community's ideas may not be representative of the needs and views of the wider target audience of Maemo.

In any case, I love my N900 and look forward to further improvements to it (and if I may add, more incremental and rapid bug fixes ;) ).

Alfred said...

One of the big failures in which Nokia keeps falling is not selling the device in more countries (specially Latin America). At least Nokia should allow buying to an international store and ship the device to any country...

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