Designing for what your users do (not what they say)

In theory, designing a new product should be easy: interview your users, find out what they want, and make it. Unfortunately, in practice the process is never quite that straightforward. In fact, if you’re looking to make a product that gets high levels of adoption, saves companies time and money, and is loved by users, listening to what your customers say they want may not be the best place to begin. Read more...

Design, test, iterate: Thermostat (part 2)

In part 1 of this article, I discussed how I defined the design problem for a particular client. This article will cover how I went about finding a solution to that problem.

My design process is essentially non-linear. I start with what I believe to be a good solution and then put it though the wringer of user testing. Invariably, it turns out I got something right and a lot of things wrong — and that’s when things begin to get interesting. After each test, I go back to work and repeat the process, again and again, until the product ultimately is adopted. Read more...

Defining the problem: Thermostat (part 1)

"Defining the problem” is the process of determining why we are making this product in the first place and for whom. It is in this stage where clients reap a large part of the value of hiring a designer. That can be a confusing notion for clients because they often think that they have hired a designer to solve a problem that has already defined. A client recently asked me to create a proof of concept for an iPad thermostat and I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about how defining the problem can be more complex and nuanced than it first appears and how a better understanding of the problem can lead to a better solution. Read more...