August 23, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Why Human-Centered Design is a crucial tool for any kind of product.

Imagine you arose a great product idea which has the best of intentions, which on your perspective could easily be implemented and help people’s lives become easier. However, that magnificent idea doesn’t really match your users’ needs as first thought.
Creating new products that we actually don’t need has been very often in the last years, I’d risk saying that it still is a very often circumstance in our capitalist life (Hello, freaking startups ideas).

In the book “The best interface is no interface”, the author Golden Krishna, brings us a couple of stupid ideas that the market creates for users, that actually are pretty nonsense products or solutions that actually turn our lives a bit more complex instead of help, just to reflect the idea of being an innovator company.
The author gives us an example of the bloody hell concept of having an App to simply unlock a car — My BMW remote app.

I wonder why the concept of having a stupid app that does bit more functions of unlocking your car (in 13 long steps by the way) could be better than a typical and classic way to unlocking a car just pressing a button.

Perhaps the idea was way more focused on the sense of having an innovator app than the actual real user needs.

less is more” — a phrase from the Robert Browning poem “Andrea del Sarto” back in 1885. It reflects that your user needs can be actually as simple as you first thought. So how can we prove that?

Human-centered design (HCD) is a problem-solving approach by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process, to ensure solutions are tailored and suit consumer need.

There are obviously some steps we UX designers should follow in order to identify the user's needs based on the HCD. In this article, I’ve compiled some of the fundamental principles of HCD.

1. Focus upon the people needs

Whatever is your design or product, have always in mind the people who will use or interact with your product. Keep in mind that your product may affect people’s lives and help them reach their goals.
In the brainstorming phase, where you imagine all the possible ways you could solve the consumer’s issues and need. — work with hypothesis until you have a realistic and human-centered solution.
Do lots of research, interviews, empathy maps, customer journey maps, and anything else that can help you to identify the main pain point.

Hint: JTBD framework may help at this stage.

When _____ , I want to _____ , so I can _____ .

This framework provides an excellent way to identify important user journeys and map them to potential solutions.

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Illustration by Sofy Dubinska

2. Finding the main problem

Not all problems worth solving. Dividing between Fundamental and Symptoms of a problem. Fundamental problems are the best way to find a solution, once you hit the problem by the root.
To identify the core of a problem should be an inalienable part of the design process.
Conducting research interviews may give you the main core problem among a relaxed chat, so please, lead a good research interview, listening and empathy are the keys to success.

3. Think about the problem as a system itself.

A system is composed of a considered amount of process and steps. Don’t focus on only a part of the user journey, think about the big picture — what you really want to achieve with your experience, what is the final result you care about and what problem you want to solve with your product, besides other smalls problems.
Have in mind that users should have good user experience at all touchpoints, both digital and physical.

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Illustration by Sofy Dubinska

4. Prototype your ideas and potential solutions

No matter how long you came up with an idea or solution, you should always test it with real people. Talking to real people will give you any potential hint and, will help you understand what part of your product requires attention or improvements.
Do tests with real users with real problems is crucial to identify a real user need. Talking to a close friend or any parent will only delay your research analysis, and it won’t be representative.

Conclusion:

In sum, the human-centered design brings light to people that have the problem and the underlying reason for it, rather than on the problem itself. This concept helps designers properly emphasize the real issue on the user’s face and come up with a solution that they are more likely to embrace.

By now you should understand why taking a human-centered approach is crucial for product success, be that digital or non-digital.
Having this mindset on each product will eventually help you to build long-lasting, innovative products, that solve the target audiences needs and pain points.

At last, always have in mind: You are not the user.

This article was first published on my Medium. To see more articles related to this topic, please check my Medium Page or reach me for a nice talk 🙂

April 5, 2020Comments are off for this post.

Delivering meaning in the digital experiences you create

Editor’s Note: This article is based on experiences faced on my daily work in order to create a customer engagement approach and giving a meaningful and delightful experience through some design projects I’ve been working on as a Digital Product Designer.

Driving users’ attention, creating memorable designs, and — more importantly, — influencing user habits and behaviors is something that all the creative fields will agree can be one of the most challenging and difficult things to archiving when creating a meaningful digital product.

Marketers often highlight the importance of engaging customers accurately and how to engage them through similar situation user stories where they feel represented, but what does it exactly means for digital products when creating a new solution or feature?

I would say that everything starts from how the engagement happens, what is required to bring attention and desire to users that are more than used to have more of the same apps on their daily lives.

Changing or creating a new user behavior requires getting users to take actions that they don’t usually take. It requires to break or significant change their habits to create new ones or on the other hand creating an experience that can become part of their routine, rather than constraints.

People don’t like forced changes

People don’t appreciate changes, they like consistency and tend to remain things just like they are probably because is easy and less painful. Why changing my habits in a product if I can find one that fits my routine and my lifestyle?

The director of research and design at Stanford University, BJ Fogg has a model of showcasing three elements required for any effective behavior change: motivationtriggers, and ability.

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The Broadway actress Eva Le Gallienne once said:

“People hate what they don’t understand and try to destroy it. Only try to keep yourself clear and don’t allow that destructive force to spoil something that to you is simple, natural, and beautiful. “

That doesn’t mean that people hate changes, they hate what is not clear, what is complicated and not useful for their lives, and here we have a huge path of how a designer can deliver users a delightful and meaningful experience.

Delivering a meaningful experience to your users

In our daily life, we face repetitive and exhausting routines/patterns. It can be presented on as you prepare your breakfast as well what you think of some bad design app, you’ll drop it on the first 2 minutes of trying it.

This kind of situation arises a need of an opportunity to create and deliver a delightful experience for a product or service. A particular point in the overall customer journey when users are in an emotionally vulnerable position.

In the best-sales book The Power of Habits, Charles Duhigg explains the process of creating a meaningful experience through human habits. It’s curious to see how people face problems in daily situations differently when there’s a reward at the end.

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Delightful comes from unexpected awards

Considering the Delightful flow above, it’s clear that after passing through a tricky moment, people are quite often used to get a reward at the end, otherwise, people will quit and get frustrated if there’s no reward or a meaningful experience after all.

In terms of UX, here we have a huge opportunity to deliver a unique experience that users won’t ever forget, it can be presented on some post-sales, micro-interactions, microcopies or just a simple and personal message. Users may also forget any frustration during the process if in the end, they receive an unexpected reward or experience.

Furthermore, it might create a product to be habit-forming. Habits, as mentioned on The Power of Habits, are part of our humanity and creating a new and engaging new experience can be useful for users and with so for business.

  • Create higher and fidelity customer lifetime value;
  • Offer greater pricing availability;
  • Increase growth and referrals;
  • Increase loyalty

How to boost the UX on your digital product in a meaningful way

The wording ‘meaningful experience’ has been often used within the digital industry, it has been also mentioned concerning usability and digital delight. Creating delightful UX in the user journey requires designing an experience that generates positive emotions at multiple points along that journey.

Jesse Garret has designed in 2000 one of what we know nowadays the main core of elements of good User experience.

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Based on Jess James Garret, 2000 — The elements of User Experience

Using either topic creates delight combined with the right value on the digital product can boost the UX of the digital product and giving some sense of a more human-designed interface. One tool that is quite mentioned when designing digital products is the Micro-interactions. These short and small interactions are an often-overlooked part of UX design. And yet it’s a fantastic way to create delight among customers. Creating unexpected but still useful micro-interactions boost your digital product to another level.

Another topic that can be added when creating meaningful experiences, is the emotion presented on the design. During a design process, emotion needs to be addressed in a careful and systematic path, rather than as an afterthought. There are three essential steps that present one way to be successful when capturing emotions and working with it into a proposition of “delight”:

1. Identify unique moments:
A complete analysis of the user journey can show a few points when the user is at an emotionally vulnerable point. They could be frustrated, anxious, elated, or feeling in control. Those feelings need to be deeply understood so the design can propose the experience in a positive and unforgettable way.

2. Present responses to the emotions at the right time and place:
Users will never forget an experience where they felt represented.

• Intuitive: Visual language, appearance, branding voice, and tone
• Behavioural: How it behaves, responders and works.
• Contemplative: How it is seemed, interpreted and understood.

3. Present a true meaning as an outcome:
Design for a meaning or a cause rather than with meaning or context. Meaning is stronger than emotions plus transcends memorable values.

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Providing delight in a Customer Journey requires understanding multiple dimensions of the context and scenario in designing an experience that generates positive emotions at different points. Early interactions of product design may not create delight in the way designers hope for, but through user testing and feedback, creating that delight is an achievable goal.

Designs that connect bridges with users into an emotional way are worth the resources involving it. It creates higher engagement and can cause new consumer behavior or habit.

All it takes is a process of awareness and commitment on the part of the design team and to make the user feel part and involved in the product or service.

WRITTEN BY Haran Moraes de Amorim

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