Subject to change

Earlier this year I heard on of the authors, Peter Merholz, give a talk on the book “Subject to change: Creating great products and Services for an Uncertain World”. I recently stumbled upon a video which captures the talk by two of the other authors at the google campus. It was a good excuse to pull out the book and review my take aways.

I won’t summarize the whole book and video here just a few points that are good reminders for us design folk.

Customer Experience and user experience are terms that easily thrown about. The root word to these is “experience”. And at the heart of it is how a human or your customer experiences your products, services, and environments. These distincly human qualities of the experience across many touch points are the unique to your product and the people that use it. A person’s experience emerges from these:

Motivations: Why people are engaged with your offering and what they hope to get out of it

Expectations: The preconcptions they bring to how something works

Perceptions: The ways in which your offering affects their sneses

Abilities: How they are abel to cogniitive and physically interact with your offering

Flow: How they engage with your offering over time

Culture: The frame work of codes (manners, languages, rituals), behavioral norms, and systems of belief within which the person operates

When someone says they had a good or bad experience what they are really talking about is how the product, or service did or did not do against these qualities.

This frame work is quite useful for thinking about your customer and their lives. Think about your own experiences, how much are you driven by a task or a goal exclusively?  When you talk about your life to others is it about task and goal? I know I don’t! Its more about the motivations and behaviors. The way we are motivated to act/behave in the real world (shopping, love, family) is also the way behave in interacting with products to a certain extent. Why would we change? So its really more about the behaviors and activities than the task. If  you buy into the way thinking, it gives you a broader way of thinking about our user to understand them better for both current experiences and the future ones.

I am curious how others find this basic frame work? Is it working successfully in your organization?


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