#4: Empathise

September 22, 2007

We spend a lot of time attempting to understand what people are trying to achieve when they visit Trade Me.

We go out of our way to spend time with users.

We organise events where sellers can get together and share tips with each other.

We invite people in to see what we’re working on. We ask them what they like and what they don’t like and why.

We keep an eye on the message board to see what people are saying (see #6: Talk straight).

We ask people if we can spend time with them and watch them use the site.

Whenever we do this we always learn a lot!

Another even more effective way for us to understand people is to track what they actually do (see #9: Measure everything).

We understand that we are only successful when we solve a problem.

We love Steve Krug’s book “Don’t make me think”.

We focus on the things we should build rather than the things we can build (after all functionality is an f-word).

Our #1 job is to get out of the way!

We try to be obvious.

A big part of this is using conventions that people already understand:

We use big fonts because they are easier to read and they force us to use fewer words.

We try to keep unnecessary noise to a minimum. For example, there are no banner ads on the sidebar on the login page.

When we plan new features we just try to do what people expect us to do.

Other posts from the Trade Me Manifesto series: