What makes consumers decide to buy your product or service? How important is adopting a user-centric approach when planning new features? Why does solving real-life problems matter for your customers? Read this blog to find out.
On my commute into the office today I was struck by the vast array of exciting new products that seemed to flaunt themselves from every angle. The adverts that flash up on my phone whilst nosing around on Social Media, the mesmerising new gadgets that brandish themselves from the centre of the free ad paper, and the cutting edge fashion that lines the high street. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little tempted by these goods, but would it be enough to lure me into parting with my well-earned cash?
When deliberating over my spending habits and loyalty to existing products I am clearly influenced by far more than quirky gimmicks and flashy lights. I have a desire to purchase something that serves a purpose and solves a real problem. This is not a ground-breaking revelation, folks. Design thinkers and the UX community will undoubtedly advocate for the creation of User-Centric products that quench the needs of you and I.
With a desire to find out how products solve real problems, I thought it would be best to begin by focusing on human factors and the interactions between products and the people using them.
“Approaching problem solving with a hands-on, user-centric mindset leads to innovation, and innovation can lead to differentiation and a competitive advantage.”
www.nngroup.com Design Thinking 101| July 31, 2016 | by Sarah Gibbons
No matter how big or small, we all face a multitude of problems in our daily life. From the moment I open my eyes to the moment I hit the hay I face problems. That’s if I ever manage to close my eyes - if the hotel room air conditioning isn’t set too high or the emergency light doesn’t continue to flicker. Over time we naturally build a tolerance to our daily dose of trouble, changing behaviours and adapting new approaches to mitigate facing difficulties.
Tell me you have never set multiple alarm timings on your phone, just in case you snooze through the first one, before an early flight departure! I have no doubt that you too have overcome an array of irritating daily snags with the use of products that you have become deeply dependent on. However, I strongly believe that you don’t just stumble across on-going commodities that naturally provide the resolutions you need.
Apple, for example, is renowned for creating user-centric products that enable the brand to last the test of time. It is not a coincidence that the features on your iPhone are based on your daily needs, and that the most useful features are easily obtained with a quick upward swipe. No doubt the features of later versions will vary, nevertheless as long as new handheld devices are aligned to user needs or customer trends, Apple will continue to survive as a leading global brand.
“You’ve gotta start with the customer experience and work backward to technology.”
Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and former CEO, Apple
This all seems rather simple, but unfortunately my guess is that many people working in the field of product development may innocently become disconnected from the needs of an end user. They may become inundated with internal dashboards, KPIs and SLAs, which then become the principal measure of success
Realising this has encouraged me to delve deeper into methods of Design Thinking and the necessity to focus on building a strong empathy for an end user, before moving on to the designing phase of product development.
Inspired by a variety of reputable tools and techniques, I created a ‘Product Discovery’ canvas that can be collectively populated with information during a team workshop when generating customer-focused products.
It’s always more beneficial to use the canvas once deep-rooted customer insight has been established with the use of collaborative tools such as the Empathy map by David Gray. The narrative is then firmly fixed on the end user’s needs.
Ok, so you won’t be surprised to hear that the template is geared towards visualisation as each section can be occupied with images to aid alignment across the team. By representing high-level features as images, you can crystallise design ideas and support a working group to prioritise the most salient suggestions more effectively.
The Product Discovery canvas is at the heart of our new Product Discovery workshop. By fusing both Design Thinking and Agile Methodologies this workshop has been specially created to put customer needs and real-life problems at the heart of product and feature generation. Learners will participate in hands-on action orientated exercises that will demonstrate a simple and effective flow from Product Discovery to Product Development.
With a twist on traditional building blocks for product development this workshop will incorporate the following elements made up of collaborative learning and hands-on exercises:
- Establishing Customer needs: Uncover real customer problems, create personas and build a deeper empathy with end users to validate design ideas
- Eliciting a Product Vision: Make use of tools and techniques (including our ‘Product Discovery Template’) to generate an impactful Product Vision and identify value driven features.
- Idea Generation: Collaboratively generate design concepts before converging on the most promising ideas.
- Build and test: Build a prototype of your product idea before testing your concept in front of a live testing audience.