What people need vs what people want



Hi folks,
I stumbled on this post (https://medium.com/swlh/build-what-people-want-not-what-they-need-c04e466f8bdf) and I fully agree with the author.
What do you think about it?


What an amazing piece. I totally see where the author is coming from.

But, what about the times people don’t know that they need something? Maybe the designer from the article really did have something wonderful to offer and the only thing he needed help with was to get the idea out there.


good point!

I believe that this is a product development topic.

A lot of stakeholders are requested here, for example:

  • people from marketing for analyzing the market trends and the competitors
  • people from business to ensure the financial support for the assets we need to build the product
  • people from the tech teams to evaluate the impact of the changes and/or the new stuff
  • people involved in the design topics to define the achievable KPIs


I think it goes hand in hand. You can create an application what people want, but if in the end the application does not have any value (the need) then the application will be short-lived as the user will remove the application.
So the focus should be on both not one or the other.


I’m taking a technical editing class this semester and I found an article in our resources that relates to this discussion.

Just the FAQs

The article is giving advice on how to design an FAQ section to make it more usable. This last bit is what made me think of this thread.

All of these suggestions will certainly produce a more effective FAQ, but sometimes the obvious goal (improving the FAQ) doesn’t reflect the real problem that needs to be solved. The real problem is often that the need to repeatedly answer the same question for a large proportion of your audience clearly indicates a design flaw in the product. An effective FAQ helps people solve their problems, but it’s even more effective to eliminate the need to solve the problem in the first place.


I see your point and.
At the same time, I think that deliver “what people need” is a way to ship the first release (or even BETA) of the products.
A company decides to ship a new product (or to enhance an existing one) according to financial analysis, metrics and feedbacks. According to these figures, stakeholders can take decisions to shape the “best” product.
After a while, they should check the KPIs (financial, competitive etc) and see where the gaps are more prominent.
Filling those gaps, in my opinion, allow them to deliver “what people need”.


thanks for sharing!