A Day in Their Shoes

  • Posted October 19th, 2007 at 11:00 am by Yahoo! Search
  • Categories: Search

Like any consumer-focused tech company, Yahoo! spends a lot of time conducting various kinds of customer research. We have a dedicated research team that takes this on to understand our customers and improve our products. But last week, we wanted to do something different and have the rest of the team go deeper as well. We invited members of the Yahoo! Search product, marketing, design, and engineering teams to get out of their cubes and into the “shoes” of our customers for a day. The goal of these customer visits was simple — have every team member understand at a very personal level how their customers use search in their daily lives.

After forming small teams and hanging with financial analysts, stay-at-home moms, Yahoo! loyalists, customers who use competing products, teachers, and students alike, the day culminated with a Customer Poster competition where Yahoo! teams shared and reflected on what they learned.

By observing our customers where they actually search, we saw how they chose a search engine for different tasks, scanned a results page and what they expected to see — whether it was a hedge fund analyst doing company research, a teacher building a lesson plan or, in my case, a parent researching images of Peter Pan for a blog she was creating for the local elementary school’s play.

Search Field Day

While only a few team members received awards for their Customer Posters, we all felt pretty victorious because our customers had inspired some great ideas that will help us build more useful products to better serve them.

If you’ve got any big ideas on how we can make search a better experience for everyday users, we’re all ears.

Michael Kronthal
Customer Insights Team, Yahoo! Search

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