Leveraging a true multi-dimensional process and approach–one that is repeatable, quantifiable and holistic–is critical to minimizing risks and enhancing the success of any project. People don’t live in a flat, stationary world and solutions designed without incorporating this understanding are destined to fail to live up to expectations and miss critical opportunities for meaningful impact.
To be successful, we must start by understanding the complex life of a consumer so that we can frame our observations appropriately around:
- their needs, motivations and unconscious behaviors
- the context of the experience: space and time, social and private
- the paths they take: advanced journey mapping techniques
Analyzing Needs, Motivations, and Unconscious Behaviors
Once we understand the consumer or user in more detail, we can focus on the ideal experience–and must realize that the experience itself is the product. That experience may be manifested in multiple components, including digital interfaces, physical goods, sensors, and even the design of spaces–all with the consumer at the focal point. This makes understanding people and their environments the next logical step–focusing on their experience to gather qualitative and quantitative information that will help frame research in the right manner.
Understanding The Context of the Experience
Creating artifacts from the insight provided by this research is a process that is part science and part art. The scientific aspect is a repeatable method and the art includes a keen ability to ask compelling questions. These pieces help to form our framing process and provide us the ability to ideate and iterate rapidly.
This ideation process is a critical path in the development of any product, whether it’s a multi-component experience or a simple single-environment tool. Our output is more than a solitary idea or concept that’s worth making real. It is a collection of exploratory topics that make up the parts of a real, tangible experience, in a real place and time, with a group, or as a solitary individual.
Ideas Worth Exploring
If you don’t make the right observations, frame your research and ideate and iterate, you will not discover where the valuable paths of impact lie. If you don’t know what technology is available to leverage, and don’t have experience with evaluating the state-of-the-art, you will miss opportunities to act on the results of your research. You won’t be able to readily test your assumptions.
If we’re building an experience that has a physical component, like a rugged container for a tablet device, it’s better to utilize 3D printing technology to rapidly iterate on a concept. If one of the components of our experience design work requires a highly-engaging digital interface, on par with videogame interactions, we start with design and motion concepts driven by gestural interactions, coupled with physical explorations.
Ensuring a Tangible Impact
With all of these otherwise missing elements accounted for, we are able to quickly iterate and find the right solutions that makes a real, tangible impact on customers, employees, friends, and family. That holistic view provides businesses the opportunity to generate maximum positive impact and business return.
You can map out your goals, expected impacts and necessary business returns, but without the proper roadmap to truly understanding your users,understanding how a digital experience is enabled or hindered by other elements of a real-world experience, the only tangible impact you may have is increased market share for your competition.