Tuesday, March 29, 2005

UX and "Design Thinking"

A March 8 article at BusinessWeekOnline shows that the suits may be starting to get the UXCentric message. Check this statement:
The truth is we're moving from a knowledge economy that was dominated by technology into an experience economy controlled by consumers and the corporations who empathize with them.
Not bad, huh? And it gets better with lots of quotes from generally-accepted authorities at B-schools and a nice plug for Dan Pink's new book, A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age (which is definitely on my reading list).

But I get a little uneasy at statements like these:
  • [Y]ou can design your company to generate products and services that provide great consumer experiences, top-line revenue growth, and fat profit margins.

  • It's time to embrace a new value proposition based on creating -- indeed, often co-creating -- new products and services with customers that fill their needs, make them happy, and make companies and shareholders rich.
Call me naive if you must, but in my book UXCentricity doesn't begin with the quest for profits.

Now, I love a good profit as much as anyone else (and know that generating a return for owners is the purpose of business), but great user experiences don't spring from those with dollar signs obscuring their vision. Outstanding user experiences are created by those who are primarily obsessed with delighting their end users.

If you see UX as a means to "top-line revenue growth and fat profit margins," you've taken your eye off of the ball—and, I submit, you won't provide a wonderful UX or enjoy those desired financial returns. User experience must first be about people, and people are experts at sniffing out companies who see them only as means to a financial end.

But make satisfying your customers and end-users your primary goal—indeed, to exceed their expectations and make their lives easier, more enjoyable and more meaningful (even if it might "hurt" potential profits)—and you'll end up with a first-class UX, madly loyal uers and a healthy bank account.

That's the kind of (UXCentric) thinking that will dominate the coming decades.

Via elearningpost.


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