In yet another example of how the world I live in is not the norm, I was reading this week's Business Week magazine, and there was an article about a firm that does usability studies to figure out what customers want and help companies design products around the results. The article went on to educate us that while many companies alter their products by adding more features, really customers might want fewer features that are just easier to use. Similarly, on NPR about a month ago someone did a feature on National Usability Day, and acted as though usability was a form of geek-speak that no one would understand.
Now I would imagine the average reader of Business Week works at a company that creates some sort of product. So here's the question - if they've never heard of customer research or usability studies, how on earth to they figure out what products to build? It's not like this is only relevant for technology companies; even GM must put together some panels of users to figure out what new features to add to their cars, and I bet that Kraft does the same for their crackers. Service companies or even grocers should do the same if they want to be successful. But apparently that's not the case, which just goes to show you that my reality is not the same as everyone else's.
So am I crazy? I'd like a vote on who knows what customer research and usability studies are.