You’ve done it, you’ve conceptualised and designed a product or service that you think answers all of life’s problems… but no one wants it. Unfortunately, this is no solution at all, and the days of designing products or services with assumed outcomes are over.
More than ever, it’s becoming evident that consumers and their needs are what matters when launching a product or service. There’s a difference between talking to the people with a problem and talking with them.
Human-Centered Design (HCD) is what we’re talking about and it’s a concept many don’t understand! We’ll take a look at how a people-first approach can help solve design problems and how this approach could improve your business strategy in the long-run. Our hope is to shed some light on the topic and help you understand its value.
Before We Start
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Now - back to the centre.
What is Human-Centered Design?
Human-Centered Design is a creative approach to problem solving that starts and ends with people. People are the end-user of most products and services, making it critical that they remain at the core of every stage of the process for design, marketing and beyond. Emilie Colker, managing director of IDEO explains that HCD:
“... means continuously studying the person you are influencing or engaging with as a whole, looking beyond what the data shows, and what people say and do, but also at what they think and feel.”
Involving the people who are directly affected by the problem at hand makes it easier to create and innovate with an inclusive mindset.
Some of the key phases involved in HCD include:
Undoubtedly, user experience designers use this framework as the core in their Design Thinking process. But how is this approach implemented to shift an overall business mindset?
People Make the World Go Round
Startup owners, corporate leaders and industry influencers are all starting to sing the same tune. That tune being, the importance of customer data when making business decisions. Data is one of the most valuable assets for businesses and informs much of how they adjust products and services over time.
If the data is shedding light on how your target audience operates, it’s easy to see where your business may need to shift to meet these needs. Evidently, this digital revelation is paving the way for a human-centered approach.
So what can help shift businesses into a people-focused gear?
Implementing human-centered design as a core pillar in your business strategy of course, but it won’t answer all your problems on its own. It can, however, play a key part in your wider business strategy.
Interestingly, during the recent global pandemic, we’ve seen how the crisis has encouraged businesses to consider people first. Businesses are listening, engaging and empathising with people before conceptualising new products or services.
In these times of critical need, the human-centered approach is purpose-driven and helps to provide real value for real people with real-life problems.
Close Human Connection is Key
Whilst a global pandemic may force businesses to shift their processes it’s not ideal to wait for this force of nature to make a change.
Now, more than ever, human-centered frameworks need to be injected as a key element in all aspects of a business from operations to organisational culture.
Because this process allows businesses to become adaptable and change-ready.
A learner-mindset is what promotes great possibility and can help businesses to continuously innovate in collaboration with the people they are innovating for.
On the other hand, many businesses tend to close off from the world when working on a new product or service. The question of revealing valuable intellectual property comes into play and many businesses immediately shift into protective-mode.
To fight this urge, opening up to the consumer with a collaborative approach and embracing feedback can bring a business closer to a successful outcome. Not to mention, closer to the end-user over time.
For example, involving consumers in the development of your service by asking for their input or voting on certain features, is a great way to not only better your offering but build a loyal community.
The long-term effects of this interaction between business and consumer can have huge benefits including:
Direct access to valuable customer opinions
The value of this interaction is paramount and can impact more than just the design of a product or service, but its holistic impact on your direct consumers and even your industry as a whole.
Giving The People What They Want
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The JA. Team