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Why developers should think like end users

My opinions why we, developers should think like end users or at least try to listen to their feedback on the app and updates we had rolled on. Here’s why web developers should think like end users, to make sure to build something that make them trust and happy.

We, developers and other tech guys often think to build the software and web that are cool, had a rich feature, automated, flexible, sophisticated, etc, you named it.

We often forget that the end users. Those folks who used the web or software we built, actually don’t need them.

I saw there are many cases like this.

Facebook updates to “Timeline” years ago

As a developer, yes I think it’s sophisticated at that time. Facebook updated the feature that’s called “Facebook Wall” on our profile to the one they called “Timeline”

And I do remember many other people are complaining about this.

They wanted to get back to their “wall”.

They thought that the new “Timeline” was confusing and puzzling.

It looks like human nature to hate changes that disturb their comforts.

Those folks on Facebook used to see and use the “wall”. Then, suddenly the Facebook replaced it with a sophisticated “timeline”.

We had seen how things go over years ago.

The “timeline”, though it’s still called “timeline” was updated to make it look like the old “wall”

WordPress Gutenberg

Again, WordPress Gutenberg editor. Last year, starting with WordPress 5.0, the team behind WordPress CMS decided to replace the old “Classic Editor” with Gutenberg editor.

Compared to “Classic Editor”, Gutenberg is surely more sophisticated and it had more rich features.

However, this more sophisticated editor (or should I call it “page builder”?) was not accepted by the majority of WordPress users.

Just give a glance on their average ratings on their plugin page. Yes, initially they built Gutenberg as a plugin before the integration to the WordPress core as the default editor.

There are 1889 people who gave a one-star rating.

Compared it to the rest number of people who gave more than a one-star rating.

The number of people who gave a one-star rating is still at least twice bigger than the number of people who gave more than a one-star rating.

Sad, but it looks like the majority of WordPress users did not accept this new sophisticated editor.

I explore the reasons behind them and most of them said it is:

  • raising a problem on their side to adapt with this new editor, which is completely different from the old one

  • clashing with other plugins.

  • making a mess with the looks on their site because their site’s theme did not support it yet.

Then, most of them are just too lazy or did not have the chance to take a look at this sophisticated editor deeper.

It is interesting how this will end up. Will the WordPress team update the default editor to make it look like an old one, and yet still named it “Gutenberg”?

Only times will tell.

On the projects where I am working on

Over time, there are many areas or features or sections of the web app I am working on to drop, or hide or just load it later when users clicked it.

On one project, the project manager (which also the owner) always hear the end users voice, and asked the team, including me to implement it when their voice makes sense for the whole project.

On another project, I also see a similar thing where the project owner decided to always listen to the member’s feedbacks.

Conclusion

We, developers, did not need to always follow what users suggested or requested.

But when the majority of our app users are saying similar things about the updates we just made, isn’t it the time to evaluate that update?

Don’t you think it’s useless to have a SaaS which the users will end up hating it and eventually leave it for another service?

Further Reading

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