Kano Model and Faster Horses

I should probably mention one thing before I start: When judging if a solution is “right”, I rather believe in seeing people’s actual behaviour than asking them about it.

Now let’s move on to the question: I have used the Kano model a few times in the past and there was always one thing lingering in my head: We’re basically asking people what they like instead of watching what works for them. Usually you don’t get to a state where you can show people a prototype of a feature when running a Kano study, instead you often show them just a sketch or a mock up. I decided to run a little experiment lately and it made me question the Kano model as a whole.

I did build an interactive prototype with certain features in order to find out what works for people who use the product. In that prototype I had Feature A, Feature B and Feature C. All of the features were relatively new to them and it’s unlikely that they have seen them in a product before. I gave them realistic tasks and watched how they used the prototype. Watching them, almost everybody used Feature A heavily and Feature B & C only a little bit or not at all.

After they finished the tasks, I asked them the questions from the Kano model and was shocked by the results:

  1. Feature A turned out to be Indifferent.
  2. Feature B was a Performance feature.
  3. Feature C was Attractive.

I ran the study with eight people and the results were pretty clear, there wasn’t much deviation. People basically said that they don’t really need the feature that they used the most to finish a task. They also said that they would love the features that they barely used.

Did anyone run into that problem before? Did I miss something in my setup/observations?