Posts about ‘tools’

Icons and instructional graphics are a language. Without knowing enough about the grammar to communicate properly, the message won’t get across. Part of the goal of the designer is to reduce the number of types of interactions the user must learn. To do this, the designer looks across the complete set of interactions in order to develop a small set that can handle all of them.

Objective Truth

How do we know we’re designing right? How do we know our design is good? Is “good enough” for a client the same as “good enough”? Who decides if a design is good? Or bad? Is good-or-bad really the right scale for describing design? How does a company manage design “quality” across a small, large, or distributed staff of designers? What is design “quality”?

The Modal Verbs

One simple thing I like doing when thinking about companies, products, and services, is the Modal Verb exercise. It’s interesting to do it by myself, and interesting to do with other designers and with clients. It’s easy–just fill in these blanks.

Often, it’s suggested by either my client or a colleague that we talk to “leading-edge” consumers instead of just average consumers. Except sometimes the suggestion is “extreme” consumers. Is there a difference between “leading-edge” and “extreme” consumers?

Changing The Formula

Exactly where a product falls on the “Love It / Solves It” axes depends on what it means for a particular consumer to “love” a particular product, and on what it means for that product so “solve” a consumer’s problem. Any change to the product (and the way it is marketed) may move the product in any direction.

What It Takes

Characterizing what goes into a purchase decision is, I’m guessing, the most important thing a company can do. Why does anyone buy anything? There are lots of ways to talk about it, but the one I’m enjoying these days, I call the “Love It / Solve It” chart.

The idea is this: In order for me to buy a product, it must both solve my problem, to some extent, and I must love it, to some extent. Exactly how much a product must solve and how much I must love before I’ll by are related to each other along some curve. If a product is above and to-the-right of the curve, as the star is, I’ll by. Below the curve, and no dice.

Carrying The Clubs

I’ve written previously about using the idea of “hiring a product” as a way to think more broadly about the relationship between consumer and product. Here’s an example.

Who Is The Product?

Another simple tool to help calibrate a project team, or elicit interesting information from a consumer: personification.

It couldn’t be more simple. Just ask something like: if this product were a famous actor, who would it be? Pick a product and ask a few people – I guarantee you’ll get interesting responses.

Expressed And Implied

Sometimes, a feature that may never be used is given the “Primary Feature” treatment. Doing this changes the consumer’s perception of the product, on the shelf or in use.

Frequently Urgent

Here’s a tool that we use often both to analyze and plan consumer experience. I’ll talk about it here as a piece of a product design process, but we use it for service design, retail design, even to plan a business model.

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