Rapid changing environment and higher customer’s expectations are the main reason for constant transformation to meet market demand. Organizations are looking for more innovative solutions which live up to these requirements. It is no longer enough to be a good player. Nowadays we need to go further to act at a larger scale. We are obliged to meet customer’s needs faster and more precisely.
Taking all of the above into the consideration is the very first step to building your brand and competitive advantage over the other companies. Designing positive experience and better understanding of our users are the key to success. Thus, what is all the fuss about with the user experience and design thinking? Do they correlate? If yes what is the difference? Are there any similarities? Let’s look closer into user experience and design thinking.
Look, feel, usability – the core of User Experience [UX]
UX is an emotional reaction which affects customer’s behavior. It encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products bearing in mind perspective of usage (e.g. specific situation, mobility, frequency). UX enforces the awareness of the context of using product or service. Unfortunately in many cases UX is understood only as user interface, graphical layout or as considering user’s needs only (without others factors like e. g. human motivations, emotions).
Technology is waiting for business to speed up!
There is no doubt technology is changing people’s behaviors. According to various research, technology is inevitable part of our daily life. Smartphones, online banking, online booking, online shopping have become common. There is no need to prove that technology affects all aspects of our life. There is constant need to develop new products and services to meet user’s needs. Companies all the time are trying to catch up. In this context we can ask ourselves the question what is the role of project manager. We strongly believe each project manager should be aware of all the circumstances around product/service design. For those who wish to understand what user experience is – there are trainings available. You can become a certified an UX-PM.
User Experience can bridge the gap!
Nowadays UX struggles with a lot of challenges. One of them is willingness of the company to offer great user experience versus good practices usage, another one might be not enough budget, not to mention existing processes or company structures. Due to these factors – companies deliver product/service irrelevant to business need. As a result companies don’t know how their product/service is used, who uses it, what the context of this usage is and finally what kind of emotions it implies. Decision to start delivering product/ services with the user experience approach can distinguish your company in the market. People tend to choose the organizations which bring the satisfaction to the users. Satisfied users are willing to share their positive experience with specific company via social media. Careful insight into people’s emotions is the base of deep understanding of human’s need. To enable user experience flow and proper perspective it is crucial to put this identified need in the core of product/service. Thus, each experience with product/service creates unique memories and feelings. Positive emotions provoke the brand attachment and loyalty.
The philosophy of user experience
According to Steve Jobs: “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. Design is how it works!”. So, how does it really work? To design is to understand, create and improve by iterations. To make the design work it is desirable to generate multidisciplinary team gathering people from different departments like: Marketing, HR, IT, PR, PM, R&D and Customer Service. Each of these roles produce good user experience because it allows to look at the same product/service from different angle and perspective. Which in result makes the product/service more and more applicable to customer need. To better adjust we have to take into consideration tree voices: voice of customer, voice of business and voice of market. We have to remember about customer’s needs and expectations towards different devices (e.g. tablet, smartphone or PC). We ought to have in mind company’s departments (Marketing, IT) and their blockers and requirements. Not to mention market demand.
Desirable, Viable, Feasible – the core of the Design Thinking
One of the methods that puts human in the center of the design is design thinking. What is it actually? It is a methodology of creation of the innovative products and services based on deep understanding of user’s problems and needs. The main foundations of the Design Thinking are: focus on the user, multidisciplinary team and experimenting and testing of various hypothesis. As a result we deliver solutions which are desirable, technically feasible and economically justified.
Five stages of Design Thinking
There are five stages of Design Thinking: Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. Innovation starts with the empathy. The Design Thinking puts the user in the center. Human-centered design is a unique approach to problem solving. Starting with the user’s emotions like hope, fear, habits it is easier to define what they need.
How Design Thinking works?
Design Thinking is a systematic approach to the process of the innovation. The first step is to build interdisciplinary team consisting of various specialists who provide their experitse. Does it sound familiar? This is one of the major factors in the User Experience, isn’t it?
Step by step, the team goes through subsequent methodologies’ stages and uses dedicated tools and techniques in order to deliver solutions that are ready for implementation. The goal of the team is to produce the peculiar solution and to check its usability before it is put on the market.
Learn from failure
Unbelievable? Actually not. Design Thinking shows us that the failure is a natural thing during the learning path. This methodology provides the space for failures. Allowance to take risk boost chances for the better product/service design. According to Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. And for design thinkers, finding out what won’t work is part of finding what will.
The earlier in the process you identify the failure – the earlier you can fix the problem and deliver the better product/service. This universal approach can be used wherever we need to deal with so called “wicked problems” meaning the problems for which there might be not a single or obvious solution.
All of the above indicates that User Experience and Design Thinking have a lot in common. User Experience starts from the answer to the question “How?” whilst Design Thinking defines the real problem and provides us with “What”. UX looks into the details of the design and interactions. Design Thinking allows, by rapid prototyping and testing hypothesis, ensuring that the product/service is validated before it is implemented into the real world.
One may consider that User Experience and Design Thinking are just another buzz words. We believe that these approaches, methodologies are the future of business. Implementing them into organizations will help to deliver better products/services that bring advantages not only to your business, but, what is the most important – for people your business exists for. Both UX and Design Thinking are focused on the human. It does not matter if your project is being run in waterfall or Agile – your North Star is your user.
[PL] Właścicielka Magenta Business Consulting. Zawodowo Agile Coach, Scrum Master, Project Portfolio Manager. Wspiera transformacje zwinne i organizacyjne. Autorka tekstów, mentorka, prelegentka, trenerka, wykłada na podyplomowych studiach „Advanced Project Management” wrocławskiego Uniwersytetu Ekonomicznego. Certyfikowana Project Manager, Executing UX-PM, PPO, PSM, KMP II, moderatorka Design Thinking.
[ENG] The owner of Magenta Business Consulting. Professionally Agile Coach, Scrum Master, Project Portfolio Manager. Supports agile and organizational transformations. Author of articles, mentor, speaker, trainer, lecturer at the post-graduate studies “Advanced Project Management” at the Wrocław University of Economics. Certified Project Manager, Executing UX-PM, PPO, PSM, KMP II, Design Thinking moderator.
[ENG] Project Manager with 10 years of experience passionate about sharing the knowledge. Is always learning and cConfesses that she cannot start her day without a cup of coffee. Managing projects during the standard working hours was not enough for her and she joined the local PMI Wroclaw community in 2017. Sha passed the PMP exam the same year. In 2020 she was elected as the PMI Poland Chapter Board Member. Currently she is responsible for PMI Poland Chapter membership. Actively supports the PMI chapter XChange initiative and is fond of getting to know different cultures and perspectives. Enjoys hiking and playing board games. Speaker for international conferences and co-author of the book The Xchange Effect. A Virtual Journey of Cross-Country Collaboration and Co-Creation.
[PL] Kierowniczka projektów z 10 letnim doświadczeniem i pasjonatka dzielenia się wiedzą. Ciągle się uczy i wyznaje, że nie wyobraża sobie rozpoczęcia dnia bez wypicia filiżanki kawy. Zarządzanie projektami w standardowych godzinach pracy jej nie wystarcza, dlatego od 2017 roku aktywnie działa jako wolontariuszka w PMI Poland Chapter. Posiadaczka certyfikatu PMP. Od 2020 roku członkini zarządu PMI Poland Chapter. Obecnie odpowiedzialna za obszar członkostwo w PMI PC. Aktywnie wspiera globalną inicjatywę Chapter Xchange. Uwielbia chodzić po górach i grać w planszówki. Prelegentka na międzynarodowych konferencjach. Współautorka książki The XChange effect. A Virtual Journey of Cross-Country Collaboration and Co-Creation.