May 30, 2016
Ensuring your digital products are engaging with your potential audience and showcasing your product offer effectively are the keys to building or refreshing a successful new website.
Being so close to your business, the way you see your products or service may not be align with what your customers are looking for. This is where a ‘human-centred design’ approach to building digital products puts the focus on your customers to drive your digital product design. This research-based approach can assist in developing and creating products that are engaging and relevant to your customers and are focussed on meeting their needs and expectations.
Conduct are leaders in digital product design and development and are passionate about human-centred design. As proud supporters of Social Traders Masters Conference, they believe social enterprise can showcase all that is good about human-centred design and innovative thinking methodologies.
Paul Blake, Conduct’s Director of User Experience, shares an overview of the human centred design approach and how understanding your customers can remove the guesswork from business planning and assist you in making sound decisions about your digital products into the future.
1. Why do you think human centred design lends itself to social enterprises and social businesses and their digital products in particular?
I think human-centered design (HCD) and social enterprise are a wonderful fit. By definition Social Enterprises are driven by a public or community cause. This means they absolutely have to connect with customer need. There’s no better way of ‘hard coding’ this into strategy and product design than by understanding exactly what that customer need is. HCD offers the toolkit to do this. Digital products are particularly prone to influence from either internal stakeholders and/or design agencies both of whom are prone to unconsciously steer design to suit their tastes rather than that of the end customer. HCD takes this so called ‘self-referential design’ away and offers a customer-centric solution.
2. Is human centred design suitable for business at all stages – start-ups who might be creating their first online presence and are testing their potential customer market as well as those who are well established with a known online audience and following?
Absolutely. The HCD toolkit is equally suited to researching market potential as it is to rapidly iterating and evaluating existing products and services. In both cases the start point is a hypothesis, idea or problem statement which is tested, refined and launched through the involvement of customers.
3. What’s the biggest mistake businesses tend to make in deciding which digital products are right for connecting with their online audience?
The biggest – and most common – mistake is to decide on the product without involving customers in the design process. Customer observation and interview takes away the opinion and the guesswork and ensures the solution is grounded in real customer need.
4. How does using a human centred design approach affect the ROI for digital products in terms of finding and connecting with the right customers online?
HCD can have a profound affect on ROI. At its heart is the notion of empathetic design. When successfully executed this means the look, feel, functionality and tone of a digital product resonates with the core customer segments. This ensures that in a crowded marketplace where there is often a wide range of potential choices for the customer the HCD-driven product connects and resonates thereby driving engagement and conversion.
5. What are some of your favourite examples of digital products built using human-centred design?
Putting the arguments around regulation to one side, Uber is a great example of HCD. The functionality is centred on customer need and it has removed all of the traditional ‘pain points’ by making booking extremely easy, giving informative information about the driver and their current whereabouts and ETA and automating payment. It’s also a great example of launching with a minimum viable product – a feature set just broad enough to gain market traction – and then prototyping and adding services incrementally.
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