Put yourself in your customers' shoes

…or risk putting your foot in your mouth

In a recent interview Dan Russell, Google’s intellectual heavyweight tech usability expert, revealed something really interesting. Apparently Google staff were amazed to find out how few people knew about the control F function, which lets you search a web page or document by keyword and find the information you need faster.

I’m one of the 90% of searchers who had never heard of control F. It just goes to show how dangerous it is to make assumptions about your target market.

luckily Google makes a genuine effort to keep a finger on the pulse of ordinary searchers. It’s Russell’s job to “understand what people do when they search online” using classical analytics, search anthropology and analysis of users’ eye movements millisecond by millisecond.

And they act upon their insights. Shortly after the discovery, Google improved their service by adding new control +F features to their Chrome browser.

What about you?

Do you assume your customers and prospects understand your products and services inside out, letter-perfect? Or are you cleverer than that, realising they probably don’t know anywhere near as much about you and your stuff as you imagine they do? The latter is the wise marketer’s route.