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The Human Touch

Steve Jobs previously said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around”. I could not agree more!

Too often we focus on simply getting the task done and we avoid putting ourselves in the shoes of our clients to truly understand what solutions the business should be providing.

To apply experience design, there’s a process involved and elements you need to consider:

  1. Research: Conducting studies, interviews, and observations to determine problem and cause. Ask questions and listen!
  2. Analyse: Review findings and re-define the problem. Sometimes step one can reveal that the problem you thought you had initially is far bigger than you anticipated.
  3. Ideate/ Prototype: Create ideas to solve the problem.
  4. Prototype/ Test: Put it to the test! Show your clients and take on feedback for the final solution.

The key takeaway I get from these steps is that it is vital to involve your clients in the process – this is type of design approach is referred to as ‘Human Centered Design’. We must involve our clients in designing their experiences to ensure we are providing them the right solution. You’d be very surprised how many of your clients would love to be involved in such initiatives.

It’s important to also recognize that not everyone knows where to start when it comes to this and if this is you, I encourage you to consider recruiting a person who has the experience (internally or externally) and is passionate about it.

Here’s a great example of the payoff this type of design process can achieve for your business:

A hospital in America wanted to know how they could ensure they were providing a pleasant experience for the patients that stayed with them. In pursuit of human centered design, they hired a professional experience designer to conduct research and provide recommendations.

The designer jumped into a hospital bed and placed a camera next to his head (in-line with what he could see) and spent a day in the life of a patient. Watching the footage back, he identified that for most of a patient’s day, all they saw was a dull grey roof. Fellow patients concurred that they were sick of looking at it. Imagine how bored you’d be!

Following the research conducted, the hospital had their roofs painted by a professional artist and eliminated the dull grey. Patients were delighted with the change and the feedback was nothing but positive. It gave them something else to focus on during what is usually a difficult time.

If the hospital hadn’t have hired this professional, odds are they would never have thought to jump into a bed and take a walk (or lay) in the shoes of a patient. Very effective and the return on investment was profound.

As we Australians head into summer, I encourage you to take a walk to your local park sometime this week, sit in the sun and watch this TEDx talk by Evan Fried on your phone. It’s 8 minutes long and will open your mind to designing experiences that solve problems. Get some vitamin D and a better understanding on how to tackle the next stage of your CX journey!

What services or products are you cooking up for clients that might need the human touch first?

Rebecca Love

Author Rebecca Love

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