Make burgers smaller!

Today, as I came home from work in the pouring rain on my AWOL Specialized, my neighbor also rolled in next door in her blue Prius. I had a moment of envy at the fact that she wasn’t dripping wet, while I stood there in my soaking wet rain-gear. We started talking, first about how my trip to Mexico went, then the conversation turned to how her husband is planning to change the menu of the diner he owns.

“For example, he wants to make burgers smaller, I mean I can barely eat half of it, they’re so big!” she explains. In my mind, I was like Nooooo!!!. But to put her comment into some perspective, she is a very petite woman, and I – not as much, having about 6 inches on her in height. So I argued back:

“I don’t think they’re that big! I finish them and get a soup on the side too!” At this rebuttal, she smiled.

“Oh yeah… he wants to make an option on the menu to get one of two sizes.” Sighing in relief, I nodded in agreement.

Why did I bring up this story? It is a great example of a strategy to employ when a key feature of a project has very opposing feedback: give them an option. Of course, it is crucial that the choices do not complicate the concept by offering too many options. (That is why people like Costco, besides the fact that their burgers are HUGE: they have at most 2-3 options for most items, or a giant box with all the 30 options for those with choice anxiety :D). To decide whether or not to branch out to more options, try asking this very important question:

Why does my user want X to be like this?”

Does her opinion originate from a completely different problem? Is he trying to repurpose your feature for something else it’s not intended for? If the answer is “umm… Yup,” you may want to take a step back not be like Dilbert:

Dilbert Comic