Minimize waste, are you designing for needs or wants?

Molly sat in the waiting room with dental phobia and a tremendous toothache. She was lucky she got an appointment so early to this coveted dentist. He had a reputation of always being on the clients’ side; stating that the client was always right no matter what. If he couldn’t fix her toothache in a way that she would be pleased with, then who could?

The door to the dentist´s surgery room opened. A man wearing a white coat announced her turn. She recognized him from all the pictures she found when googling his name prior to the visit. With a firm grip of the plastic bag she had kept in her lap, she got up from the chair and approached him.

– I see you brought something today, he said and glanced at her bag.
– Yes, Molly said and opened it.
– This is an expensive drill that my father bought a few years ago when he had toothache after a recommendation from his dentist. It worked really well to cure his pain so I would very much appreciate it if you could use it today. And hopefully it will be less expensive as well, since I bring my own equipment?

The dentist studied the drill for a second.

– Hmm, he said slowly, it might be cheaper for you, yes, but I cannot say for sure what the price will be in this state of time. What I can promise you though, is that we can use it. You are the best one to know what you want in this situation and if this is important to you, then it is important to us as well, he continued and gave her a comforting smile.

Relieved by his words she entered the surgery room and closed the door behind her.

Two hours later she opened it again, slowly stepping out into the waiting room. Several parts of her mouth ached after the surgery. The new dental plate in her upper jaw made it difficult to press the teeth towards each other and the wound from the corner of the mouth bled constantly. In spite of the surgery wounds, the toothache was gone. It really was! The bill got quite a bit more expensive than she had calculated with, but that was probably a reasonably price considering all that had to be done.

Molly spotted a frightened client starring at her in the waiting room.

– There is no need to be afraid, she mumbled trough her dental plate.
– What did he do to you? the woman whispered.
– He just repaired a hole that ached a lot, she said and tried to smile.

The woman looked skeptically at her.
– And what’s with the other stuff?
– Oh, you mean this? Molly said while pointing at the dental plate and the wound.
– They are circumstances that appeared in order to be able to use the drill properly.
– What are you saying? He did all of this BECAUSE OF A DRILL? the woman yelled upset while her face turned purple.

– Exactly. I wanted him to use a certain drill that I brought since I knew it worked. He then needed to do some medical interventions on a few other teeth and accidently he hit the corner of the mouth. But the drill worked!

Surely you wouldn’t approach your dentist or your brain surgeon telling them what instrument they should use to cure you. That would be a waste of time and a high risk. You probably know less about the procedures of solving your problem than they do. What you do know though, is the nature of your problem, the reason why you came to them for help.

When we create solutions for the web, we sometimes face customers telling us to include a certain product or technique they have invested in, often purposed for another intention. What help would you give to this kind of issue?

“Yes, of course we can do a solution based on what you want” or
“No, this is not the best way to solve your problem”?