This week in ux-clinic: Designing for novices and experts

This week in the ux-clinic discussion group:

We’re a start-up of veteran designers and software developers, building a cutting edge – home music system (think wireless). One big debate we’re having is how to approach the problem of satisfying both user populations: novice consumers and expert audiophiles. Both user groups are important to us, but their needs, and the assumptions we can make in designing for them, are so divergent, we’re struggling with how best to approach the problem.

Should we:

  • A) Figure out now who is more important, and design for them
  • B) Focus on the happy middle of design problems / features that both groups want done as simply as possible
  • C) Deal with this one feature / decision at a time
  • D) Something we haven’t thought of

I’d love to hear how other folks have dealt with this problem, even if just “we made it up as we went”

– Signed, SPD, split-personality design

7 Responses to “This week in ux-clinic: Designing for novices and experts”

  1. Kenneth P. Katz

    Are you sure that the needs of two widely different segments can be met with a single product?

  2. Rami

    As a start up, I think you should be unique in your design and offer something new, that might mean that you should design for the expert user.

    On the other hand, you can design the hardware to handle both expert and novice users, then produce the first release with software for the novice user and the second release can include the software for the expert user.

  3. Pawel Brodzinski

    I think the queestion should have been asked earlier. Not during design, but during discussing vission (or business plan) for the product. What is your main target market? Novices, audiophiles or people from the middle. You won’t satisfy all with a single product. Where’s your place on the market, then?

    I’d choose one target group, basing on business expectations (market size, potential revenue, etc) and focus on that group.

  4. Michael McDonald

    If you have a specific product idea or approach and you are trying to match that to an audience, you best bet is to get out there and talk to people, find out which people are interested in your product and why. The design should be molded around the wants and needs of those prospects.

    On the other hand, if you’re trying to figure out what market to approach before defining/refining the product, also go out and talk to people. Where are the biggest opportunities? Who do you want to be your customers? (It’s best if you also fall within your target audience.)

  5. Chad Maine

    As an audio geek myself, I appreciate products that can target mass-market and still appeal to audiophiles. Use quality components, support lossless codecs, handle large music collections well, etc.


Leave a Reply to Pawel Brodzinski

* Required

Click here to cancel reply.