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understanding user

Understanding Users

business / Design

Understanding Users

You might have heard the phrase “Customer is King”. This phrase is an age-old business slogan expressing the importance of customers in every business.  We can relate this phrase with “Customer is always right” which was coined way back in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London. The fact that a customer’s wish needs to be met makes him right and makes his king, the feedback your customer gives you is what you build on to improve their experience with your product or service.

Who’s a customer and a user?

Let’s go with this definition; a customer is a user of a commercial product or service, and A User is someone using a generic or information system. Now, what’s the difference?

Obviously, as you read above a customer is a user because of his or her engagement with a company’s product or service. For the sake of this article, we’ll be using the word Users, and we’ll talk about understanding their needs.

Understanding Users

A suggestion from Abby Covert, he said “start from Understanding people.” people who need to use the services or product you are working on. When designing or iterating a product or service, start by learning about current and future users. 

If you don’t understand who the users are or what they need from your product or service, you can end up building what they don’t want or won’t use. This is the reason while most companies embark or support research teams to conduct surveys and interviews with users. User research can’t be over-emphasized, to build the right thing you need to understand what the people want and how best to give it to them.

For you to understand your user, you have to conduct user research because it helps you to learn about users and create products or services that meet their needs. It is easier to conduct user research and get quick feedback when your product or service is built around a community or have a community created around it.

Why you should do user research?

Understanding your user gives you a lot of benefit, and the more likely you are to design and build a product or service that works well for them.

User research delivers many benefits for a company, because you:

  1. reduce the risk of expensive failures by making fewer assumptions about your users
  2. reduce delivery time by having more certainty about what to build
  3. release increments of the service based on the new knowledge you gain about your users

For companies to grow and satisfy its user, the product or service needs to be in continuous iteration, this has led to the adaptation of the Lean Principle. Experts like Eric Reis and Dan Olsen the authors of “The Lean Startup” and “The Lean Product Playbook” explain how effective this principle has help companies develop products or services that fit the market.

How does it benefit the user and what should they expect?

A company’s product is built to meet the need of the market, by so doing we could describe that product to have fit the market. The benefits this have on users are:

  1. User satisfaction.
  2. Improve the experience for users.
  3. Create confidence in the mind of users.
  4. Gives a clear definition of product or service goals to users.
  5. Create empathy between the user and the product or service.

Product or Service are been engaged with by users, they pay for product been built by company because it meets their need. A user story is important for product development and iteration.

Users need to know how you are protecting the data that been exchange while engaging with your product or service, this has been a major concern around the internet space. There have been issues raised and closed around data privacy, so most companies communicate clearly with their users.

“Design isn’t finished until somebody is using it.”

Brenda Laurel, PhD, Independent Scholar
The frustration of Understanding Users

Understanding users could be frustrating and disappointing most times when your product or service is new to the market, you could be experiencing this self-doubt, and when you expect to get good results through your research but things went sideways.

Someone once said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” The quote recognizes that when we experience disappointment, our hopes and expectations are out of line with reality. We all feel this way from time to time. Some of these disappointments will not make much of a difference, but there are also disappointments that can change the course of our lives.

 The beauty part of the story is we learn from every disappointment and frustration, we iterate on them to be better, we definitely get better and gain the trust and loyalty of users over time, because you were able to continue with your research and targeting specific community to get better understanding of your product or service, knowing how viable it is and how it fits the market.


The Lean principle is one way to work on building a viable product or service, a user-centric product or service literally sells itself through word of mouth and referral because it has met their need and the market entirely.

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