The Macintosh Moment:
How UX and Design Thinking
help you find it
UX and Design Thinking
The launch of the first Apple Macintosh in 1984 is considered a pivotal moment in history. Illuminated by Ridley Scott’s advertisement, it brought immediate awareness to the impact that one computer would have on the industry.
Many consider its feature of user-friendly GUI to be the core to its success – but its predecessor ‘Lisa’ debuted GUI a year before, and didn’t make it big. The Macintosh simply had just the right balance of design, usability and price. The cost-effectiveness was achieved by a radical down-scaling approach to the hardware, moving the focus on what the user wants and de-emphasizing what the computer needs.
Since then we have witnessed another small revolution in interaction design. Gone are the days that the user is to blame when they fail to understand how a device works – today if the user cannot use something intuitively, the device is essentially to blame.
We have not yet found our key evolutionary step to seamlessly integrate it into our work. But with the right methods, it can happen.
Design Thinking in IoT
Design Thinking is essentially the opposite of analytical thinking, it’s a process that helps us find the vision of what could be instead of focusing on problems. At TEAMS, we use this method with our clients to open up completely new ideas that may or may not work; and in the end both sides are completely surprised by game changing ideas that hadn’t been thought of before. It stops us from debating which materials to use for the bridge and gets us to look at other ways to cross the valley.
User Experience Design in IoT
But Design Thinking alone won’t help us find our Macintosh moment. We also need the help of User Experience Design. UXD brings our attention to the user in ways we’ve neglected to do in the past. Contrary to popular misconception, UXD is not only for on-screen experiences; it is just as important to tangible devices because there is a greater commitment (tooling and equipment) and less chances to do running changes. At TEAMS, our approach is to uncover the ways that people use products and perceive services. We get underneath their emotions to ensure that anything we bring to the market will exceed users’ initial expectations, creating products that not only fulfill, but also delight.
"Now at the dawn of the IoT era, our devices are once again in an awkward pre-Macintosh stage."
For a company to find its Macintosh Moment in IoT, it needs to harness the combined power of Design Thinking with User Experience Design.
How to adopt Design Thinking and UXD processes
IoT will only find its true potential when the user is able to accept and trust it unconditionally, which means we have to provide for the emotions first and build the functional offerings around them. What won us over in 1984 was not the computer’s specs, but the emotional appeal and belief that this is going to work with us instead of against us. It’s on our side, it’s one of us.
We are at the start of a new and exciting era of IoT and only those companies that embrace these new methods will prosper from this gold rush, and finally give us all the Macintosh Moment we’re waiting for.
TEAMS USA CEO Paul Hatch presented more on IoT design methods that use Design Thinking and UX Design processes at Bosch ConnectedWorld in Chicago.