As you might already know, the current web sensation — and breakout Super Bowl star — is the so called “Left Shark” of the game’s halftime festivities. Have a look (also, welcome Katy Perry to the FullStory blog!) …

Do we have two dancing sharks? Yes, we do. Right Shark is nailing it. Right Shark’s every move is precise and clearly well-practiced. Right Shark is following the plan exactly as the choreographers imagined it.

And then we have Left Shark. Left Shark is, you might say, dancing. Left Shark is enthusiastic-ish. Left Shark clearly wants to make it work, despite some apparent confusion as to what to do next. It’s fair to say that Left Shark is not…proceeding…as the choreographers had expected.

There’s a metaphor here. When we design new product features, it’s easy to accidentally imagine that all of our customers will magically be like Right Shark. We write documentation as if every user will read every sentence. As if every user is waiting with bated breath to comb through every blog post and product announcement. As if users will instantly embrace our product changes, effortlessly discovering new Feature X and how it dovetails perfectly with new Feature Y. They’ll totally get it, surely! Our users will be like Right Shark.

Such assumptions have a cascading effect, too. Assuming our users are like Right Shark will naturally bias and color how we instrument and measure customer activity. If we use an analytics tool that requires custom code to record events, then we’ll dig into our codebase and create event fenceposts and funnels for all the things we expect to happen if our customers are like Right Shark. The risk is that we only see what we want to see and what we expect. It’s true that we will see some Right Sharks; the people who fall into our expected behavior patterns. But what about our Left Sharks? The people who don’t end up following the golden paths? Do they get left by the wayside?

FullStory can help you take care of Left Shark, too. Left Shark needs your attention.