Earlier this week, I received a bit of a surprising text from my dad that he had bought Apple AirPod Pros. More shocking than the fact that he sprung for them was the ensuing picture showing how he was wearing them.
I immediately responded with, “but how are you pausing/skipping songs and switching from noise cancelling to transparency?”. For those of you not familiar with AirPods, the function for doing that is accessible from the stems. The steps typically point down, out of your ear.
Of course, I should know better as a SAP UX professional than to jump straight to a conclusion. This is rather than simply asking why he was doing that, but it’s my dad. He immediately answered, “They’re just more comfortable this way. I tried all three sizes of tips. This works the best with the medium sized tips. I’ve figured out a way to tip one to about the 2 o’clock position and still be able to tap the stem for Siri, etc.”
Clearly he had figured out what worked for him, and he did it without any “tech support” from me. Who am I to say what he did was right/wrong?
This is just the most recent example of how I’m constantly reminded of the importance and value of user testing (my favorite of which is usability testing, but more on that in a later blog). Either you get the feedback after the product deploys to production, or you carve out time and budget to do it as part of your research, design, and development process. You will either confirm your assumptions or have room for improvement. Even if you have to pivot, you’ll get a more satisfied customer.
It’s impossible for me to know for sure how much or little end user testing Apple does for their products. We all know and experience that they are very good at SAP UX design. Unfortunately, tech rumor slips probably prohibit the possibility of true end user testing in their case.
However, I can say for sure that I found way more examples of other people doing exactly what my dad did, or have built their own memory foam tips for a better fit. I wonder if AirPod Pros would look different than they currently do if they got this type of feedback during product development. Or possibly the next AirPod Pros will look completely different from a form, fit, and function standpoint? Who knows… Regardless, many of you do have the ability to test with end users. Reach out to us for help and guidance on how to better enable that as part of your process in the future.
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