Todd Wilkens (of Adaptive Path), talked about the revival of user experience, and going back to the fundamentals of user centred design. The bottom line, to create great user experiences you must understand people.
So how do we understand people? Typically companies oversimplify their views of people. Todd talked about concepts of the “highly rational user”, or the “Goal Oriented” user. Concepts that have been used to shape design, and build successful projects, but that aren’t a definitive approach.
He suggests that we need to evolve our processes and approach. We need to embrace the complexity of people. “Our lives our messy and complex”, “your users have messy and complex lives”.
This requires a change in approach. Instead of looking at users in terms of Tasks, Goals and Preferences, we need to look at their Behaviours, Motivations and Meaning.
How can this be integrated into the design and development of a project?
One way to achieve this integration is to get everyone involved. Take your designers and developers into the field in the early stages of development. Helping them identify with the end users needs and motivations will ultimately help produce a product more tailored to the end users needs.
All in all this was an informative session that i hope will help us to build better, more user centred designs. If there is one thing to take away from this session it’s the following quote:
“Creating great experiences means understanding people and getting that understanding into design”