in things dug cares about,

Assumptions in product design

dug dug Follow Apr 10, 2022 · 2 mins read
The prodigal son returns...
Share this

So I’m not saying all product designers build on assumptions, but many do.

Not doing that is hard, you need to do research and testing but even then you might miss something. As well as research and testing, teams realy need to do assumptions mapping

I was recently asked to complete an NPS survey for a business travel booking system (like CWL but not them)

You allowed me to book a flight with an impossible transfer. This meant my checked-in luggage was lost and had to be messengered to my home address separately.

Please introduce a feature to lengthen transfer time (a little “+” icon next to the transfer dot).

Or, failing that, change your algorithm to only choose flight connections from super-busy hub airports that allow for the inevitable delays at these airports (we waited 25 mins at the stand for the ramp to be connected. This is normal).

Please inform your product design team to NOT ASSUME length of connection is always a linear relationship where less wait is better and more wait is worse. Experienced business travelers sometimes choose connections and timings in function of the whole experience. So for example, a 180 minute connection in AMS means I can sit and work in a quiet seating area in Schiphol which is a much better experience than a multi-terminal crowded rush at CDG or LHR even if it’s listed as only 60 minutes.

Please factor this into the design of your service.

That last bit feels like assumptions territory…

  1. Of course travelers want a direct flight as stopovers are a pita.
  2. If they have to have a stopover then of course shorter is better.

This may be true for many business travelers but not all business travelers.

In my case, the direct flights available via the tool don’t work for me given the end-points of my destination:

  • There is a direct flight at 06:30 but that doesn’t work for a day trip as I have to set the alarm for 3am to make it
  • There are flights a bit later but the tool doesn’t allow for luggage check-in on those (I’m traveling with bags of scissors and post-its and glue and stuff so need to check it in)
  • There are flights on an airline I’m politically uncomfortable taking

The flights I can take are with stopovers in European cities, so I book those.

  • I pick airports where I know there will be more seats, more quiet and fewer people
  • I normally give myself an extra hour or two so I can get some proper work done

So sorry for the boring post about my silly travels, but if you’re building your product without testing your assumptions then you are letting somebody down.

Join Newsletter
Get the latest news right in your inbox. We never spam!
Written by dug Follow
Hiya, life goes like this. Step 1: Get out of bed. Step 2: Make things better:-)