VCD – Value-centered Design II

In 2003 Jess McMullin wrote on Boxes and Arrows:

“Value-centered design starts a story about an ideal interaction between an individual and an organization and the benefits each realizes from that interaction.”

The article is very appropriately entitled, Searching for the Center of Design. And I think it puts things into a good perspective. Only a few years later after this article was written I started to dive deeper into the UX world and at that point me and my colleagues where already taking into consideration the Business needs on par with User needs. User needs as understanded more from an aesthetics, usability and experience point of view. Not the business user needs.

Now, this elevates the discussion to another level, questioning what should actually be the center of the approach, User-centered? Value-centered? any interaction between an organization and a client/user must be a win-win one, and for that to happen you need to know how to create value to both the users and the business.

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VCD – Value-centered Design I

Isn’t that Human-centered afterall?…

Hi, welcome to 2019 🙂 afterall we are all just returning from holiday season. So, why the title of this post? well, my path in the Design > Product Management > Innovation as been leading me to question more and more what is worth more to invest time and resources?

  • a) Developing a Product with a poor experience but that delivers great value for end users.
  • b) Developing a Product with a great experience but that delivers no value to the end user.
  • c) All of the above.

You’ll all say that, “of course we want option c)“, right? So let’s make things more challenging, we remove option c).

  • a) Developing a Product with a poor experience but that delivers great value for end users.
  • b) Developing a Product with a great experience but that delivers no value to the end user.
  • c) All of the above.

Imagine you could only have one of the things, now which option would you chose? ahh that’s a nice debate for a group of die hard creative artists and designers :)…

A different way to put things in perspective is when you have an existing product with a poor experience, but you know what? it brings loads of cash to the company. What to do in these situations? how do you convince a CEO to sign the check to start developments on a new product to substitute the existing one, not knowing if it’s going to be a sales success or not?

This is where I want to arrive: isn’t creating value to end users and clients, a Human-centric approach also? I think so. Moreover that might be the ultimate most important thing we all, (product designers, managers, CEO’s) need to deliver to the users of our products.

So be prepared as a Designer to face poor experience products but that deliver tons of value to the end users. Because you gonna have to respect it, try to understand it, and improve the experience without breaking the value, and here lies the challenge, because as a Designer you also no need to think as a Change Manager, as a CEO, as a Product Manager. This is especially true in the B2B world.

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About Business Strategy

Been doing a bit of research and readings on the topic, to prepare some improvements on the way the company takes strategic decisions.

I’ve been listening the audio version of the book “Playing to Win” and found also this short article that captures the essence of what normally happens, not only in organizations, but also at a personal level, I would say.

It’s the difference between Playin to Win and Playing Not to Lose.

Playing Not to Lose

If you are playing to “not lose:

  • you’re cautious. Probably overly-cautious.
  • You want to avoid mistakes, so you hold back.
  • Instead of doing what you know you need to do, you wait to react.
  • Instead of using all of your power to tilt things in your direction, you wait.
  • You don’t make the call to your dream client because they said they needed time to think things over.
  • You avoid talking about your price because you worry that your prospect will say it’s too high.
  • You don’t act because you are fearful that anything you do will put yourdeal at risk.

Playing to Win

If you are playing to win:

  • you do whatever is necessary to move things forward.
  • You aggressively try to put points on the board.
  • You’re not reckless, but you’re certainly not passive.

When youplay to win:

  • you make the call that you fear.
  • You have the difficult conversation.
  • You deal with the tricky issues that may put your outcomes at risk if things go south on you.
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Is Manufacturing still a big driving force on the final product decisions?

This week I’ve been reflecting on this topic, as my brother shared with me an interesting podcast (Asymcar – The View From Tokyo with Bertel Schmitt) on the topic of manufacturing in the Auto industry, and how car plants have a big role on influencing the final product the clients get to have in their hands.

Another interesting article on HBR touches the topic of Innovation coming out of China and how it will disrupt incumbents in high end industries because China is a manufacturing powerhouse, namely in the Shenzhen region with electronics plants, and Innovation gains a lot from being there, next to the plants.

For better or for worse, manufacturing still has and will continue to have a huge influence on Product decisions for the sheer reason that, changing manufacturing plants, assembly lines and processes is expensive, time consuming and difficult from a logistics point of view. Let’s say that manufacturing in the Auto industry is like steering a huge container ship, takes long time to stop or to change course. Has his own inertia.

Of course this varies from industry to industry, but there’s no doubt that the Auto industry where the costs of product development and manufacturing are very high, and cost reduction is done mostly through technology sharing, platform sharing, via gaining market access and market share is a very good example for all other industries to learn through this amplified effect of the automakers.

 

 

 

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UX research: The future of good business

Something very dear to me, as I saw in my past experiences, that everytime you have the chance to perform some User Research, you bring home loads of new insights that can be translated into new requirements for product development.

“When user research is done well — i.e. thoroughly, and right at the beginning of the design process — the business impact is huge. It essentially means the difference between getting it right from the start or having to go back and fix your mistakes when you realise that, actually, the product you’ve designed doesn’t resonate with your audience.”

Read more here: The Rise of the UX Researcher

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Someone is redesigning the Design Thinking process

So What? right?

Well, make a search on Google for “UCD process” or “Design Thinking process” and many different diagrams will show up. This means that for someone new in the field, it’s almost impossible to choose one, or, you hear people going on pointless discussions about which one is best.

They all look different, but the fact is that they are all just covering the same principles:

  • know your real problem through discovery, research, empathy
  • make your hypothesis visible via some sort of prototype
  • Test that prototype
  • Implement your idea or continue to iterate

I’m sure I’m missing some stuff on my description above, but for the sake of simplifying this post, let’s say it’s OK. These diagrams also depict a process that is more or less linear. This is not true. Real world work is way more complex than that. Real world work is not linear, is full of complexity.

Enjoy your reading here:

Read more authors here:

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2018 In-car infotainment systems

A good read, comparing several different in-car infotainment systems

Every car infotainment system available in 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of the interior of a KIA K900.

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Weekly Readings

A New Study on Design Thinking is Great News for Designers

https://medium.com/design-ibm/a-new-study-on-design-thinking-is-great-news-for-designers-593f71b40627

Putting Humans at the Center of Health Care Innovation

https://hbr.org/2018/03/putting-humans-at-the-center-of-health-care-innovation

How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark Innovation, and Sell Our Greatest Ideas

https://www.fs.blog/2015/11/analogies/

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What do you look for in a Senior UX Designer?

I had a chat the other day about this topic, and that lead me to write down a few ideas I have about this topic. What to look for on a Senior UX Designer?… here’s a few things that pop up immediately:

  • Systems Thinking – understanding the how and why things work one way in society, organizations or technology is paramount to influence change on the right people at the right time
  • Change Management – Launching a new awesome app is just not enough if that’s not accompanied by proper communication and engaging strategies
  • Performing User Research and being a great observer, identifying patterns of behavior out of data and human observation.
  • Be able to establish analogies across different industries and apply best practices. “What have others figure out, that we haven’t?”
  • Practice evidence lead Design. Don’t follow assumptions, but instead validate them and change ideas/believes quickly about what he/she thinks is the best solution.
  • Visual Design or Art Direction, because in the end of the day the touchpoints of a system are mostly a visual interface.
  • Communication skills because presenting solutions to a problem must be compelling and simple to everyone to understand. While asking the right questions, to go deep into the origin of problems.
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“You cannot control what you cannot measure” – Peter Drucker

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“An invalidated hypothesis is just as valuable as a validated one.” – Jessica Rich, Travis Lowdermilk

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“A brilliant solution to the wrong problem can be worse than no solution at all: solve the correct problem.” – Donald A. Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

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“Want your users to fall in love with your designs? Fall in love with your users.” — Dana Chisnell

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How not to do research. Dilbert explains.

Why do I like this? because comic strips are an easy way to communicate via a medium that almost everyone is familiar. Besides it adds storytelling.

Link: http://dilbert.com/strip/2012-05-07

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Quantitative VS Qualitative Data

…many companies are turning to customer research that is powered by big data and analytics. Although that approach can provide astonishingly detailed pictures of some aspects of their markets, the pictures are far from complete and are often misleading. It may be possible to predict a customer’s next mouse click or purchase, but no amount of quantitative data can tell youwhy she made that click or purchase. Without that insight, companies cannot close the complexity gap.

http://hbr.org/2014/03/an-anthropologist-walks-into-a-bar/ar/1

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Design Lessons from unexpected sources

Stumbling on thought provoking content on the internet puts me a smile on my face, like someone said it’s like noise canceling headphones for the web.

I found Shane Parrish’s blog through this post: The Relationship Between Design and Planning. Here he makes an interesting comparison between Design and Planning based on his reads of a document from the US Army: The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual

“The underlying premise is this: when participants achieve a level of understanding such that the situation no longer appears complex, they can exercise logic and intuition effectively. As a result, design focuses on framing the problem rather than developing courses of action.”

I can relate do much to this sentence, and reminds me of another quote from the guys of IDEO:

“Informing our Intuition”

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Jonathan Ward @ Creative Speaker series – Nike

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btV4SlG91xc

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Great design is about saying “no” way more than “yes”

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Via: In the Age of Experience, Great Design is Your Business Plan

 

 

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My thoughts about Google Inbox


google-inbox-gmail-logo-icon

A friend of mine told me about Google’s new app, Inbox, and since I’m a designer, he would like to hear my opinion. This is my answer to him.

First thing I have to say, is that Google made a good decision by creating a separate product, instead of forcing a new set of features to the Gmail users.

After a few days using the app on my iPhone, here’s my initial thoughts:

  • It’s a mix of email inbox, a to-do list and a calendar, and I prefer to keep all those things separated. Because they are actually different things, I prefer to deal with them separately.
  • It’s an effort to try to put some order on the daily email clutter, assuming people don’t want to see all the emails (even if they are commercial messages, brand spam, etc). From time to time I like to give a look on the latest Groupon offers.
  • Creates bundles of emails by similar content, but so far I haven’t understood what is the criteria to do this. I would stick only to “subject”.
  • The iPhone app interface displays less messages on one screen, compared to the Gmail app for the same device. I prefer to see more messages on one glance.

Do I need another layer of “interpretation” of data between me and my mail box?

The best email interface innovation in the past years was introduced with the simple and genius grouping concept of email messages introduced on Gmail:

  • “important and unread”,
  • “starred”,
  • and “everything else”

This 3 groupings displayed in the same page, are more than enough for me and that’s about as far as I would go in terms of layers of interpretation of data between the user and the emails.

It’s always a challenge to “play” with people’s perceptions built over so many years, like the email. And the email concept comes from the actual physical mail that’s still around us, and will be for many years.

On the other hand I can understand that Google as a global giant in the internet services and with great teams of designers put together, has the pressure, the budget, the people and the media coverage to put new services outside. So, in that sense, bravo Google, for trying to re-imagine the future of internet services.

For now I’ll continue with Gmail, but paying attention to further developments.

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What is Information Architecture?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7lMCMMWGZA#action=share

Why do I share this?
Because I like when someone can translate complex, abstract ideas into a very simple narrative. And Abby the IA, did just that.

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