Practical Steps to Prioritize Your Users' Needs

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Practical Steps to Prioritize Your Users' Needs

You know you have to cut it down to be lean, but how can you ensure your product competes, satisfies and is exciting for your user?

Finding the Right Delight Balance

There are many factors to consider when deciding your MVP features: Feasibilities, efforts to develop, ensuring evidence-based decision making. These are all vital steps to decide your priorities for your product. After these steps you'll likely discover there are multiple features that bring value to your customer or solve a problem for them. So how do you prioritize which should be in your MVP or your next iteration?

Using the Kano Model to help decide your feature set can be key to your success. Make sure to spend some time pre-development to do some exercises to decide this balance.

Consider that your product should answer to 3 types of customer need:

  1. Basic
  2. Performance
  3. Excitement

1. Basic

Let's imagine we are making a mobile phone. A basic feature is that you can make a call. No-one is going to get super excited about that but they certainly expect it.

Bear in mind basic features change over time. Fifteen years ago a camera on your phone would not be considered a basic feature, it would be beyond exciting. Right now though, most users consider it a no-brainer and just the fact that the phone has a camera is not going to have your customers jumping for joy.

I have given an example here with a longer spread of years but actually a feature can change from exciting to basic in as little as a year or less in the digital world.

2. Performance

These are the features that you truly compete on. Back to the phone example. Think of the battery life or the megapixels of the camera. These are the features that your customer compares when deciding on their purchase.

They expect the basic feature and then they look for certain areas of excellence (i.e. performance) that win them over. Without these your customer will go elsewhere.

3. Excitement

These are the features that create that moment of delight and surprise for the user. Those moments of "Wow and it does this!" or "Cool I didn't know it could do this". Don't be fooled into thinking that excitement features are not as important as basic and performance. They do matter. They create an attachment to your product, a feeling of joy and happiness with your product. This in turn gives you better chance of customer loyalty as well as an essential edge on your competitors.

Too many excitement features however, and you will confuse and overwhelm your customer, if they even notice these features at all.

The Practical (Post-its are your friends)

What exercises should you do around the Kano model to get your balance right?

A. To find the right balance across all 3 areas mentioned above, focus your team on:

  • Would our users expect this feature as a given?
  • How would our users emotionally react to this feature?
  • What has our competition implemented similar or equivalent to this feature?

These should give you some clues of where your feature should sit if it isn't initially clear.

B. Now how do you whittle down your features to balance into the 3 categories of customer need? - You don't want a product full of boring basics or surprising non necessities. The magic is getting the equilibrium of the three, and you will have a product that your users genuinely want to use .

Add your features to your Kano Model. Place them where they should lie not only in terms of Basic, Performance and Delight, but also in terms of effort for the company to develop the feature. This will help you decide your features as you are only going to be interested in features landing in the top right quadrant.

The Payoff

The Kano Model exercises are a great way to face difficult decisions as a team and keep focused on prioritizing features based on real customer need and satisfaction.

Book a meeting with us to have us help with the practical steps to get your project started. My next article will explain an alternative to Kano in term of decision making in teams - The Pugh Matrix”.



July 1, 2016

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