I was using a piece of software yesterday and really struggling trying to achieve something that seemed relatively straight-forward. The product was a Continuous Deployment system and I was trying to create a deployment project so in this case, a very specific task in a very specific product.

But no dice. I spent hours trying to get something to work and it just wouldn't. It wasn't obvious whether the problem was my understanding (that was definitely part of it), the CI/CD product or Powershell limitations.

This is way too common. A simple test of someone sitting at your product and carrying out some standard journies/use cases would reveal problems immediately but some of these products have managed to avoid that, get released and then spend their time reactively trying to fix things or even worse, having the design locked in to avoid confusing existing users.

The exact same issue occurs with building design, service design and all other sorts of products. If have a shop, get your friends to ask simple questions about whether they can tell what you sell and if they come and look for something, can they find it? If you design a public building like a railway station, do you get random people to walk through it virtually to find their way around? (Birmingham New Street station rebuild was a design disaster in my opinion because form had its way over function massively!).

It is such a simple step and should be taken really early. If someone struggles with something then you either have the choice to redesign or do something really simple like adding a help hint at the side saying, "if you are trying to.... then please click...".