Design Is For People

“You cannot understand good design if you do not understand people; design is made for people.” ― Dieter Rams

I suspect this quote was intended to be applicable to product design. However, it also applies to business process design. Let me give you a few examples:

  • A company offers a wide-array of products and services yet does little to help customers converge on a product or service solution based on the customer’s actual need leaving the customer confused and uncertain.
  • A company uses insider language to describe products or services that is foreign to customers confounding a customer’s ability to converge on a solution without speaking to an expert by phone during the company’s normal office hours.
  • A company does not present in customer-friendly terms the options to configure, price and quote the product or service they want and get a sense of delivery time-frame.
  • A company does little to educate customers about why different products, services, features and options might be advantageous.

If your company offers a wide-array of products and/or services yet you are committing one or more of the errors identified above, you are guilty of an unforced error(s) that negatively impact(s) some percentage of your customers. If these errors affect a small number of customers, you may be able to move forward as is. Yet, this is seldom the case for companies that offer configurable products and services as the vast majority of their customers are seeking solutions tailored to their needs.

I urged one client to create ProTips so a customer could understand why certain features and options were included in choices the customer could make. I learned in working with them that the options were available due to their expertise and experience. Customers love to understand this expertise to guide them in making better choices.

Finally, you need to make the complex simple in terms of people, processes and systems. The design is for people both internally and externally. If you don’t address this, more agile competitors will.

Thought for the week:

“The person you will be in five years depends largely on the information you feed your mind today. Be picky about the books you read, the people you spend time with, and the conversations you engage in.” — Ruben Chavez, Think. Grow. Prosper.TM,

What do you think? I welcome your comments! Dave Gardner

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