Feeds

Focus groups are for mugs

Unfortunately your product doesn’t work

Top three mobile application threats

Listening skills

However, Mr Jobs was probably misunderstood. It is pointless hosting a focus group on a product that doesn’t yet exist but Apple, like any successful company, is keenly aware of customer feedback on products that do exist.

Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone 7.5 Mango handset

Feedback loop: Nokia's Lumia 800 has port protection, but despite the practicalities, just about everyone complained

You might want to believe that these behemoth corporations don’t listen but they do. Their aggravating silence is either a delaying tactic (one that Apple employs for dealing with every manufacturing cock-up) or that your feedback is not as important as you think it is.

What worries me is not the dismissal of focus groups when developing new products but the apparent lack of basic, real-world testing before launching stuff that doesn’t quite work properly. Famous examples are easy to list: Apple’s iPhone 4 signal drop-out problem, for example, or the idiot at Asus who allowed the otherwise brilliant Eee Pad Transformer Prime to go into production in a solid metal case that disabled its own GPS function.

I’ve always wondered whether the world of IT was too fashion-conscious and not focused enough on practicality. In fact, I’ve made a career out of this: I’m a nit-picking, contrary IT journalist. And let me tell you, the fashion industry is not one that any other should follow, given that it’s evidently run by someone with arms like a gorilla and who’s spent the last 40 years trying to shift several warehouses of mustard-coloured flares.

So next time you wonder why I’m ‘ranting’ or ‘whining’ about something as insignificant as port covers, hopefully you’ll understand why I think this stuff matters. I don’t mind if manufacturers prefer not to evaluate the market by putting their finger in the wind, but without more real-world thinking put into product design, they’re just pissing in it. ®

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. Please feel free to share your invaluable opinion on this rant by joining our comments discussion here. You can read more whining at the hashtag #sftws.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.