Human Centered Design: The Business Decision You’re Missing
The concept of human centered design is not a new one. It’s been something that has gained a lot of traction over the last few years. However, when I hear it come up in conversation, it’s usually to a user experience designer or digital strategist referencing the user experience of a technology or interface. This makes me believe that we’re missing the point.
The evolution of brands becoming platforms most definitely relies on technology, but it is only a means to an end. The technology is enabling a holistic brand experience and relationship with its consumers. This is where, I believe human centered design plays the most crucial role; at the development of the brand experience, not just at the tactical, interface level.
This morning, I was re-reading some excerpts from Jonah Berger’s Contagious and a story of Steve Jobs was referenced. This was when Jobs came back to Apple to save it from itself. The story was about Jobs’ obsession with all aspects of the Apple experience fulfilling the brand promise. To paraphrase, Jobs said “Our customers pay a lot of money for their Apple product, they should be treated accordingly.” The story went on to discuss how Jobs curated the entire Apple brand experience, from the product design; the intuitiveness and connectivity of their products and software; the packaging and unboxing experience of the products; the call to technical support; the design, layout, and support in store; even how the Apple logo is displayed on the lids of their laptops, to showcase that the person using the Apple laptop was part of something great.
This brand experience, or platform, wasn’t something that happened. It was a meticulously created experience, every step of the way. And the driving force for the creation was the human using the product. Jobs wanted to make sure that the human who was interacting with the brand, at any level, was going to be impressed, satisfied and overwhelmed with emotion.
This is what I believe the role of Human Centered Design is all about in the world where brands are platforms. It’s a specific business decision and operational rallying cry to build the entire brand around the human experience.
How often does the consumer experience come up in your business planning or strategy sessions? Are you making decisions based on it?
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