Over the loudspeaker comes a garbled message “…this train divides at Chester. Customers for Bangor must travel in the front four coaches of the train”.
There was a group of women behind me talking loudly, one of them picked out part of the message and was worried. The train guard (sorry, Customer Revenue Protection Officer) walked by.
One of the women got his attention, “Excuse me, we’re going to Bangor?” she said.
“Oh” said the guard. “You need to get out at Milton Keynes and walk to the front of the train”.
“What? We need to change trains?” the woman replied.
“No, it is the same train, just the front part of it.”
“Is it on the same platform?” Asked the woman.
“Yes, just walk up a little” replied the guard.
“We don’t need to cross over to another platform then?”
“No, it is the same platform, the same train”
“So why can’t we stay on this train then”
“Because this part of the train divides at Chester?”
“But we’re not going to Chester, we’re going to Bangor”
The guard was getting frustrated, “when the train stops at the next station, you just need to get out and walk up the platform, in fact to the next carraige and get on the train there”
“So why can’t we walk through the train to the next carraige?”
“Because it is a different train”
“but this train is going to Bangor isn’t it? We are on the right train aren’t we?”
And so on until a fellow passenger jumped in “when we get to Milton Keynes, I’ll show you where to go” and at Milton Keynes he led them all off the train to walk past the train divide on the platform and I’ll assume they made it to Bangor in one peice.
The point of this narative is that not everybody “gets it”. Just because you think something is straight forward or obvious doesn’t mean that your customers will. You are not your customer, be wary of making assumptions on how people will use your Great New Product.