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The importance of impartial user testing

[via Boing Boing] The Hold-It is a handy little tool (if you can call it that) designed specifically to prevent straw loss from your can of WD-40 spray. Of course, it has already been obsoleted by something of the WD-40 Company's own device —the smart straw— but it raises the question: why did it take almost fifty years for this problem to be solved?

Did they never solicit customer feedback? Well, yes they did. They’ve been chronicling the many weird and wonderful uses people have for the spray —in their marketing, on the web site, in the book— for decades. So were there no complaints in those thousands of letters from people who kept losing their straws? Or did they just not care? It seems to me that their customer base is so fanatical (and they are) that the product’s halo overpowered the mediocre user experience. WD-40 is awesome stuff, why not let this little complaint slide?

Because it’s your job; not just to address gripes, but to root out the little things that might not even warrant a grumbly note from a fumes-dizzy fanboy. Sweat the details, and don’t take the praise as proof that your product is flawless.