What do we do now? (Was: Users' Goals)

23 Jan 2007 - 12:09pm
9 years ago
1 reply
680 reads

As usual, I'm going to start with a statement, but I promise there's a
question at the end of all this mess. :)

The difficulty goes beyond recognizing what the users' actual goals are. We
have to design with the business/applications goals in mind as well. The
point where the two sets of goals intersect is the where the value of a
product lies.

There are excellent methods for attempting to understand users, but I think
a strictly analytical approach is limited. It's true that Contextual
Studies, Ethnographic Studies, Usability Studies, Market Research, and the
like are great for gathering information, but the problem seems to be in the
interpretation. There is some art to creating great user
experience/interaction that requires the artist's touch. Comprehending user
goals is different than empathizing with users and their struggles. I've
found that the most difficult debates happen after a user problem/goal is
identified and the question, "what do we do now?" is raised.

Let me try to restate the question. How do we transition from gathering data
to interpretation to execution to operation? I'm familiar with the
deliverables at each "phase", but not necessarily the philosophy.

I'm extremely interested in hearing everyone's opinions on this matter.
Assume the ultimate goal is to create a real solution from scratch.

- Josh Viney


23 Jan 2007 - 1:47pm

Gathering Data (user research, insert your own methods here)

Leads to 'Interpretation'

Picasso "good designers borrow; great designers steal."
Moving on from "What do we do now?" to sketching the first draft takes
a little imitative, a keen eye for sources of inspiration and an
openness to other's input on your concepts.
As you noted this is the artist's part of the job. As such I think
this is very much an individual thing. I carry a notebook 24/7 and
capture ideas/inspiration when it happens, chakras optional. A nice
bottle of red helps oil the creative cogs sometimes. I wouldnt go as
far as Steve Jobs who said that taking LSD "one of the two or three
most important things he has done in his life" At least not on a
regualr basis.

Leads to 'Operation'

How to bridge the gap between concept and final canidate? sketch the
basic idea > limited review > more formal prototyping > wider review.

This part of the process, for me, involves lots of informal chats.
Stakeholder research if you will. I generally start with customer
focused individuals first, put some resolution in to the candidate
design and then take those to management for further buy in. Rinse &
repeat until sign off. I tend to be a little judicious about who I
show what. I avoid talking about constraints with customer focused
individuals. I avoid showing management too much of the undefined
highlevel stuff, they just want a insight in the where its going, not
all the possibilities.

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