I recently came across this fantastic piece of research which has been conducted by the UK government which focuses on tech and industry and discusses the importance on a relatively new buzz word of ‘people centered design’. This falls within something which we have been discussing here of late which is why I wanted to bring your attention to it. More and more we have to keep looking at how we bring tech back to the people and switch up our focus as advancements are made. There is always time to stop and pause despite the alarming rate at which these advancements are occurring and this piece from them really hits the nail on head.
Throughout the ages the same thing has happened following a technological breakthrough such as the television, the stereo and now we are seeing it in computing and phone manufacturers, and that is tech being made for tech’s sake. We see this most prevalently in the marketing world to be honest, with ads being made to show off some level of creative brilliance to ad companies rather than to actually try and sell the product. In the case of marketing however it is the client who will lose out rather than the customer. In the case of tech however it very much is the user who loses out. The average Joe doesn’t care so much about the processing chip inside a laptop, they care about how quickly it opens and how easily they can navigate.
Something which the research alludes to often is the need for businesses to understand the behaviors of customers and trends, rather than trying to force behaviors on them. Whilst there are very much two sides to this, it is folly for businesses not to have an idea about their customer’s behaviors and trying to provide them with actual solutions which they are going to need. There is a school of thought that the customer just doesn’t know what they want yet, but unless you have a groundbreaking idea it will always be better to focus heavily on exactly what your customers are looking for.
Back in the early days of exciting furniture design, very little thought was given to whether or not people would like to sit on a certain chair or eat at a certain table, it was about the look and the kind of style that it would create in the home. As the years went on however ergonomics became just as important as aesthetics and this is almost where we are with many businesses today. We have forgotten about practical use and experience and centered our focus instead on giving ourselves a pat on the back for creating something attractive. Through people centered design we can still add that beauty and the wow factor, whilst making something which offers an outstanding UX.