Does a red taxi cost more?

A note on assumptions in product development

I was walking around London on the way to a meeting a couple of years back, and some tourists stopped me to ask for directions. They went on and asked a question that threw me “are the different coloured taxis different prices?”

They were talking about the Black Cabs, the traditional taxis that service the city so well.

A lot of the time they aren’t black but painted by advertisers or in some livery.

It had never occurred to me that the different colours might be taken to mean a different price or service. To me they’re all London cabs, after all.

But to this group it was a totally reasonable assumption to think that the colours might indicate the price. Why not?

I think this is a good lesson.

It’s a good lesson when looking at online products. We’ll design them, and we’ll think about them carefully, but there’ll always be things we don’t think about, that will make other people ask questions.

These assumptions and the issues they cause will be quickly uncovered by getting those products out there and in front of people as quickly as possible. Test design concepts early, validate ideas with prototypes, really minimise the M of a Minimum Viable Product.

A red and black London taxi cab parked next to a telephone booth