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.
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.
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.
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.