Earlier this year, I was one of the many designers at our company that participated in a an in-depth study about small business owners to determine how we might build our products to serve them better. We kicked things off with a segmentation study that helped us break down and prioritize the vast landscape of small businesses into more discernible groups. This was followed by an intense qualitative study where we spoke with a number of small business owners from across the United States. Our team wrapped things up by meeting in San Diego to comb through the data we collected and synthesized it into actionable insights for the company.
Looking back at the findings, I am grateful for the opportunity of taking part in a study like this because it reminded me, among other things, that we are not the people we design for. A lot of tech folks I know, myself included, have an aversion to email and as a result feel really annoyed when they get emails from companies. The business owners we spoke to on the other hand felt very differently — they love email!
On the go, or in the office, they check their mail a million times a day and use it stay connected with their clients. They also use it to learn new skills, stay up to date with industry news, and keep in the know about networking events and conferences. Hearing business owners talk about email that way really stuck with me really left an impression on me and changed the way I think about it. It is a tried and tested communication tool that still holds value for lots of people out there and should therefore be considered as an integral part of any complete experience.