nice read: On Apple's connection with the consumer continued...
24 Sep 2009 - 3:45pm
3 years ago
"Yes and perhaps thats the nature of business - make money, save
money, profit and hopefully along the way do good. Perhaps business
needs to change its model in a sustainable world? (but that's
another discussion) But ... Why can't a business focus on all 3? Why
are these mutually exclusive? Why not find a balance of all 3?"
Business can do that, but they don't need UCD for that.
On the contrary I would claim that UCD all to often muddles the water
by providing a false impression of quality even when you have
conducted for instance a usability test where you come up with some
There is no transcendence from these findings into the actual design
What you need is some really good UX people who care about the nitty
gritties of interface design (the pull downs, the roll overs, the
organisation of data, structure, accordions, buying process), some
good developers and designers to follow that through who care equally
and who have a genuine interest in making interfaces and user
experiences that are easy to use.
What bothers me even more is that it seems as if UCD ignores any kind
of accumulated knowledge and insist that every project should be using
the UCD process.
Now that does not mean that there are not proponents and
practicioners of UCD who care about these things, but then it's them
and their accumulated knowledge that makes the difference not the UCD
"Suggest by pissing off your user base long enough they will be sure
to move on (unless of course they have no choice, as was the case with
mobility a few years back)"
Yes and that is despite that plenty of mobile companies did plenty of
usability studies. Along came apple and turned it on it's head now
everyone is running to catch up and I am sure a lot of Mobile UCD
experts are going to make notice of their arrival. Yet the real
experts where those who didn't use UCD IMHO, apple.
Again if users don't know what is possible then they can't make
suggestions that pushes you into a new paradigm. They can make
suggestions in the old paradigme but that is hardly of any real value
when it comes down to it. That is in 90% of the cases.
"Disagree and suggest users do know what they want, its just that
they may not always know how to articulate it."
They know what they want in the old paradigme but that is hardly
different than what any good interface desiger or UX knows through
the accumulated knowledge they have or by conducting reasearch into
mapping what kind of problems users are going to make.
None the less even when the occasional user know what they want, we
are again back to the problem of transcendence. You haven't solved
the problem by stating the problem or suggesting what would be a nice
feature. The "how" you are going to solve the suggestion is the
important factor not the "what".
"Users certainly know when they have experienced a "crap product or
service" and in some cases have nice ideas on how to improve upon it.
Its embarrassing at times to have users tell us things that should
have been addressed by the business much earlier (again yet another
I simply don't buy this as an argument. If you really find users who
can help you solve the "how" you should hire them and not test
I am all for doing user research and finding out what kind of
problems users have, but to claim that they can suggest how to solve
them is flat out wrong, how would they know?
Knowing something is crap does not mean that you know how to make it
better. And whatever suggestions they might have, you are going to
work hard to convince me that their suggestions transcend well into
the design or development process.
And let's be honest here. Most of the times UCD is used by our
clients to push away responsibility. And THAT is a problem of
businesses that I think would be fair to address both for the
companies and the end users.
Just because I know how to use a hammer does mean that I know how to
make a good one. I can however listen to customers my customers and
learn what kind of tasks they are trying to accomplish and then go
back into the lab and try to come up with a better hammer.
Why would that be so different in our field?
I take the users needs and problems very serious, that is what I am
being payed to do, but it's my responsibility to convert my
knowledge of their problems into a solution, that is what makes me
the expert and them the user.
"Thomas, out of interest - How do you think about your target users
in the work you do? "
It really depends.
Mostly when I think about target users I think about them in terms of
style and communication.
If I think about them in the context of creating for instance a
product or service I look at them based on the frequency of use of
the product or service. The allowed complexity curve.
If it's an area that I know little off I am going to read up on the
research that exist on them as much as I can.
If little research have been conducted and the area is complex I
might propose that my client get that done first or I might ask for
statistics of their current user base.
And then based on the type of frequency (newsletter signup vs. a CMS
system) I am then going to allow a greater learning curve and use
metaphors that corresponds to the type of user I am communicating
But from a GUI point of view I am using my design skills to make it
easy to understand which is accumulated knowledge about how to create
heirachy, create overview, grid structures, readability, layouts.
choreography etc. All these things that users don't know how to
formulate and that have nothing to do with whether they are persona a
A button is a button no matter what kind of person you are. A good
interaction flow is a good interaction flow no matter what kind of
persona you are.
And user research normally provide me with enough information to get
going and make solid solutions.
Well there is of course much more to this but that's the fast