How does being user-obsessed change you?

(Photo via Flickr user Brad Flickinger) A few blog reviews about Nearpod come out almost every day. I read them all.

It is a very humbling experience, as a designer, to read how users perceive and use a product you have conceived. Your "intentions" don't matter any more. There is only "works" or "works not". Worse yet, you are not even there to help your users when they need it.

That's why I want to share this blog review that was published. It makes me quite proud. We've struggled with usability for a really long time (we still do) but reviews like this one show me that we are on the right path towards making a sophisticated tech product that any teacher can use. Among the many "mottos" that we have as a team (i.e. stupid phrases that you repeat so many times that they become part of your DNA), one is "Product Manuals are dead", which is just a way to force ourselves to ship features that speak for themselves. That's always easier said than done.

My year as a d.school fellow has only deepened my obsession over these matters. Yes, being user-centric is, in many ways, a form of obsession! If you ever had sleepless nights over a software bug you will know what I mean. I would love to hear your own stories of how being user-centric has affected the way you behave -- in good and bad ways.

In the meantime, here's the review I was referring to:

"One way I know for sure an app has potential to transform classroom practice is when, with minimal introduction and little prep time, a whole team of teachers adopts it and launches its use. After a short demonstration of the Nearpod app, all teachers on the 6th Grade Team at Peoples Academy in Morrisville gave it a whirl in each of the content areas, then shared the experience at a faculty meeting; from introduction to application and sharing, all in the span of a few short weeks."

Guido Kovalskys is a d.school fellow and the founder of Nearpod. You can find him on Twitter at @guidonearpod.