When a brand gives users what they say they want, it satisfies them. But when a brand wants to grow, they have to exceed expectations by knowing the user better than he or she even knows themselves.
This is what User Experience Design (UXD) is all about: getting into the minds of users and finding out what drives their behavior. If brands understand more about the people who use their products, everything can be put in place to assure a better or more meaningful experience.
In an era of saturated markets, products are often fairly interchangeable on a technical level. Users consider it a given that the product they choose will have the features and functionality it needs in order to work for them. How can we set ourselves apart from the competition?
We have to take it from functional to fascinating.
From Insights to Solutions
All information gathered through initial research mainly serves the purpose of inspiring the team to come up with plenty of ideas, concepts and quick prototypes. At this early stage many possibilities are being explored and also mistakes are being made. But the key takeaways from this exploratory approach are constantly flowing back into the design process — and along the way shaping promising concepts. During this phase, a user-centric approach puts the relevant stakeholders at the center — making them our partners, advisers, and critics during the development process — we elicit unmet needs and anticipate behavior.
A well designed user experience investigation sheds light on the whole user journey, starting at the customer's first thought about the brand, then the purchase intention, the purchase, the usage, and the service and support.
During that journey, many touchpoints and “moments of truth” have the potential to shape the user’s perception of the product, brand, and service on a long-term basis. Each step of the journey must succeed to achieve not just user satisfaction, but user delight.
..Getting inspired by users
and exceeding their expectations..
An Agile Exploration Process
Because the kind of insights that can be game-changing for a brand are frequently the result of some trial and error, we employ an agile, iterative UXD process where insights gathered along the way are able to shape the work that's still being done; an early hypothesis that's proved wrong doesn't derail the whole project, but informs better design decisions along the way.
While conducting research for United Imaging's scanning devices, it seemed plainly obvious that a mechanism to raise and lower the scanner's bed would continue to be a feature on the new designs. But when we began watching technicians at work, they usually didn't even touch those controls; instead, they quickly helped the patients up or down with a small step stool.
As we investigated, we learned that scanners in these Chinese hospitals are so tightly scheduled that the technicians try to save even seconds of time wherever they can. The slow height-adjusting mechanism just wasn't worth their time. With this unexpected insight, United Imaging was able to get rid of an unused feature that was needlessly adding cost to their product.
Sometimes we make the trip to the user's environment, while other times we invite them to one of our fully-equipped studios for a focus group, but no matter what, we connect in person as often as possible to keep an eye out for telling nonverbal cues or workarounds they might be performing without even realizing it.
How well do you know your user?
If you're not sure, the good news is that it's never too late to start knowing them better. Our team of UXD specialists are well versed on the quirks of their regional markets and adept at coordinating complex international research for brands with a global presence. We're passionate about seeing a project through from strategy to launch, and our consistent methods ensure a smooth and lean workflow.