Steve Jobs, in Friday’s iPhone 4 press conference, in which Apple tried to downplay the attenuation problem some people are experiencing with the phone, talks about both the emotional and data-driven nature of providing a great experience.
“We care about every user and we are not going to stop till every customer is happy. When you love your customers, nothing is off the table. But we want to be data driven. There are some things we know that we did learn here. One thing is how much we love our customers and how we are going to take care of them. And when we succeed users reward us by staying our users. That is what drives us. When people are criticizing us, we take it very personally. When users have a problem, it is our problem. We were stunned and upset and embarrassed by the Consumer Reports stuff, and the reason we didn’t say more is because we didn’t know enough. If we’d have done this event a week and a half ago, we wouldn’t have had half the data we have today.”
Experience Design is about emotion, to be sure. But responding to emotion isn’t enough, you need to have hard data to back up your decisions. In the worst-case scenario the data doesn’t agree with the emotions of customers (as Apple may be experiencing now). In the best-case scenario, both emotions and data agree to give you an accurate picture of what’s going on.