I want to be clear that I explore both of the areas noted above before any face-time with users. Before I read any usage data the client has for me. Before I hear from stakeholders what people are having trouble with or are complaining about.
The minute you have any of that input, your perception of who that user is has been irrevocably tainted.
This is great insight and I feel like it's an easy thing to miss. We're a bit like a scientist in this part we need a hypothesis that we can test with research. If we start with something we know then we're going to be offering solutions based on a bias and maybe ignoring some of the bigger challenges.
Thanks for the excerpt from the book, I'll have to pick it up at some point.