The importance of Users

Coding Dispositions at GDC is a great article which discusses the importance of users in the design of Virtual Worlds, and the lack of importance that designers usually give to their users.

As a designer of a Virtual World, I must commit that there are two points of view that must be taken into consideration, and must be taken simultaneously.

First off, in my experience with Selva shows that its "aurean days" were when users were being taken into consideration at the point that Selva was being evolved just to fullfill users suggestions on its evolution, and it was growing up quite fast because the users were giving loads of suggestions. That time was a real win-win situation, and Selva managed to be growing quite fast, while all other Portuguese talkers were feeling the fall of talkers.

The other point is the developers own views on their Virtual World - consider them as users with their own suggestions. While taking imparcialy a decision regarding two conflictuous user suggestions is quite easy to do, you just can't be imparcial on the decision of making your own improovements, either the rest of the users will like it or not. The big fall on Selva was when I decided it should be more secure, even if usability would suffer with that. Most of Selva's users thought otherwise. Nowadays Selva has a "mid-term" approach, but most of their users are gone.