User feedback and sophistication

“The least sophisticated users tell you what you need to simplify and clarify while the most sophisticated users tell you what features you need to add.” | Paul Graham, Hackers and Painters 

Most things we build for other people – whether it is a business or presentation or product – will have consumers at both ends of the sophistication spectrum. The first step in synthesizing user feedback is to be clear who you are building it for – eliminate feedback that isn’t from your target audience.

Second, assuming you’ll still have users on both sides of the sophistication spectrum, building products that enable both novice and power users is key. And, an important step toward making that happen is to listen carefully to feedback from both ends of the spectrum. Expect your novice users to push you to simplify and expect your power users to do the opposite.

Then, it is on you to strike a balance.

That’s, of course, how we get made.