Why we’re in love with extreme users

And you should be, too.

Thinkers Co Blog - Why we’re in love with extreme users

At Design Thinking we put the user at the heart of the project. Knowing their needs and motivations, their problems and frustrations, is a key point for the creation of innovative products and services. For this reason, companies allocate more and more resources to their research during the Design Research phase in order to thoroughly understand their users.

This is fine, but… what if we go one step further?

Observing the objective user is a must that cannot be missing in an innovation project, but there is also another type of user that can also bring many benefits in your research: the extreme user.

Extreme users are the archetypes of people at the opposite ends of your buyer persona. In an image: if we put the whole spectrum of users on a curve graph, on the hump of the graph we would have the average user, while at the extremes, at the lower parts of the curve, would be the extreme users.

extreme users

Extreme users represent a small portion of the total number of users. Compared to the average user, they have much greater or much lesser needs with respect to the problems posed, so by helping them, you will be getting create a better experience than expected for your buyer persona.

Typically, at one edge of the spectrum is the extreme user who makes a more demanding demand for design and asks for more functionality than the average. This is because they tend to have a greater number of needs, which generally makes them a type of user who looks for solutions on their own, as they usually do not find them on the market. In other words, we are dealing with an archetype of a small and proactive person, which makes it an ideal subject for experimentation..

At the other end of the spectrum are often those users who do not use the product or service. This may be because it may be too complex for them or they may have difficulties of any kind in using it. They may be distrustful users or reluctant to change. If we can bring value to this user, or improve usability to its level, it will serve us again to create an exceptional experience for the average user.

But beware! Don’t make the mistake of trying to design something for everyone.

While we’re seeing the benefits of taking extreme users into account, we don’t have to lose sight of this vision and end up trying to design a product and service that encompasses all user archetypes. Looking at extreme users during the research will give us an external view of the project that will take us out of the box and expand our creative character. but we must never lose focus on what we are creating, for what and, above all, for whom.

If you are starting your project and are looking to create extraordinary user experiences, our user experience itinerary can guide you in the work.

Published at 26/09/2019

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