Posted on: 24 December 2015
Exploring the Design Principle of Hope
This is a time of year when I have extra and renewed hope. It’s a very happy time for me and my family where we share a sense of hopefulness and cheer. I know we’re among the very fortunate to have this hope along with a holiday to celebrate it, so what does this have to do with user experience or research or design? Nothing, it’s just a clunky segue into a post around the design principle of hope that I see used too often.
The Design Principle of Hope
- let’s build it and hope they will come
- let’s build it and hope it’s useful
- let’s build it and hope they can use it
- let’s build it and hope they love it
I wish I had the optimism to design and build based on hope but I don’t so I turn to a process that gives me more than hope: if I get the answers to the following questions, then I know, (because I’ve seen it happen over and over again), I will have the assurance that they will come, they will find it useful, they will be able to use it and they will love it.
Here are the questions:
Why are we building it?
Capture a strategy – really unpack the answer to this, write it down and be sure everyone involved knows the answer(s) – share it with the whole team.
Who are they – really?
Conduct customer research and find who wants it, why they want it, what they want it do to – share with the whole team.
What will make it useful?
Conduct user research to find out who, among that subset of customers, will truly use it, when will they use it, how will they use it, where will they use it, how often will they use it – create user personas to use as design tools – share with the whole team.
What will make it usable?
Create design concepts based on the needs and goals of the user personas, test those with those personas, iterate, create detailed designs and test again – share the results with the whole team.
Why will they love it?
Because it actually does what they need and want it to do and does so in a way that makes sense to them. Because we have also applied visual treatment that enhances the overall experience, not just attracts users at first glance, but a visual language that guides users through the actual tasks they came there to accomplish, (discovered in 2 and 3), so seamlessly (designed and perfected in 4) that when they complete their tasks efficiently and successfully, this thing we’ve built leaves them hoping they’ll have reason to use it again soon. Share that success with the whole team.
Wishing you all hope for a new year filled with more process than hope when it comes to designing and building new products!