1Dogfooding is a great way to zoom out. The experiences we design live as part of a larger ecosystem. To create great experiences, we need to continuously zoom out and view/understand the ecosystem surrounding the experience. The process allows you to view the entire ecosystem from a different perspective and ultimately enables you to make more informed design decisions.
2Dogfooding is great for building contextual knowledge/empathy. I learnt a bunch of things about our product and the industries we support. I also found plenty of pain points and opportunities for innovation within our product that would be worth exploring with real users. Now that i’m back, I can honestly say that i’m here designing from a position of deep empathy, and it’s both inspiring and humbling.
3Dogfooding works best when you can simulate the environments your users will experience your product. Using your product in your office, on your favourite treadmill desk, with ultra fast wifi connections is unlikely to be an accurate representation of how real users will experience your product. If you can get it right, its a great way to enter right into the world you’re trying to create, and see first-hand how to make it better.
4While dogfooding is an awesome tool to gain contextual experience/perspective/empathy/knowledge/etc, on its own it’s not enough to create a great product. To do that, you still need to talk to and observe users to truly understand their individual needs, goals and pains.
5Theres a potential danger that dogfooding could lead to a build up of unconscious bias’. In particular the false-consensus bias. This bias refers to people’s tendency to assume that others share their beliefs and will behave similarly in a given context. To prevent this, get to know this and other bias’, keep them conscious, and continue to talk with real users.
Over and out! Jake.