Is user feedback important?

I’ve recently had some conversations with a product team that doesn’t like to do user testing. As you know, this is part of my background, I’ve done a few user experience research projects on my own, and when I didn’t have time to do it correctly, we hired folks from firms like Frog Design, or Adaptive Path to do it for us.

When I asked why they didn’t do user feedback they responded “we are users too”. Which in essence maybe right, but they are not the correct personas, target audience, and are of course biased. There are so many tools out there to observe the user experience, I don’t even need to list them, there ‘s a huge “cookbook” written called Observing the User Experience (one of the Adaptive Path folks).

Maybe it’s my marketing background (did you know that the role of Marketing is more often to listen than talk?) or maybe it’s the handful of years I spent as a user interface designer for corporate intranets and extranets, or maybe it’s my social media bent (the users are in charge).

Let us not forget that users pay us, (or the ones that hand us the paycheck) so by not asking users what they want, we’re essentially not paying ourselves.

I practice what I preach, in fact, I worked really hard in getting user feedback from the folks that read this blog, read all the comments, and you can see how I made changes directly based upon user feedback –this blog is for you, as much as is for me.

I’m not saying to completely hand over all the design keys to the users, but there’s a huge difference from gaining just a little bit of user feedback to build a better product than none at all.

Discussion encouraged, both pro and con.