When you’re building a complex product, you’ll probably have more stakeholders than just your users. If they were the only ones interested in your next actions, it probably would make it a whole lot easier to figure out your next steps.

Let me illustrate this with a concrete example. At Blendle we’re trying to give you the very best reading experience possible. On the other hand, we have publishers that want to make sure people aren’t able to read stuff for free and move on (and we would like to earn some money in the process too).

One of the ways we deal with this, is by applying a certain amount of blurring to pages that appear in our kiosk. Most images of the newspapers and magazines are really crisp when delivered to us, so if we wouldn’t do that, you would be able to read everything for free. Would free be awesome for our users? Sure. In short term, it would. However, we want to keep all publishers on board and we want journalists to get paid, so we need to offer certain options to get you to purchase the article.

Making these choices can be pretty difficult. It is easy to lean towards the stakeholders you can actually hear instead of the ones that are really using your product: your users. One of the things I like to use to improve this balance is asking the question: does this actually make the product better? Does our user benefit from this? And if it is something we need to do to keep everyone happy, can we find a way to still improve the product?

A simple question can lead the way in complex discussions: does this make the product better?