User-oriented product design: The game between ideal and reality

Source: Internet
Author: User
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The famous user Experience Master Mark Husrt told a story in the recent event-cross and fusion of the East-West forum. In the summer of 1989, a South African advertiser, Trevor Field, found a chance to discover the concept of a child toy device that combines a merry-go-round with a pumping pump. Using the same principle as windmills, the device can extract groundwater while children are happy to play, eliminating the traditional time-consuming and laborious compression pumps that seem like a wonderful opportunity for the vast majority of Africa's lack of clean drinking water.

The PlayPump pump system came into being 10 years later and began to be installed in some parts of South Africa in 1997. The benefits of it look very obvious: bring joy to the children, bring free clean drinking water to the local people, liberate the girls who used to spend a lot of time in the distance to go back to school, and promote the local economic development through the localization of the industrial process of the water pump system. The project received wide acclaim from public opinion, with 15 million of dollars invested by several foundations in 2006, and rapidly expanded to countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Malawi.

The reality is, people do not see the excitement of children's play, instead of seeing the local women and children are difficult to use playpump water, in many places even because the pump is damaged for a long time and no maintenance caused serious water difficulties. What is wrong with the idea that locals are generally hoping to use old pumps?

The core issue of playpump-lack of effective user participation

In 2010, two Canadian volunteers carried out field tests of the equipment in Malawi. The results show that PlayPump takes 3 minutes and 7 seconds to pump a bucket of water, while the local traditional pump takes only 28 seconds. Guadian's report also points out that the need to meet the design needs of 2500 people daily drinking water requires children to play "27" hours a day. For the people in the water shortage area, their greatest concern is how to get the most convenient access to drinking water, PlayPump apparently unaware of the problem, and the entertainment of the device is clearly beyond its usefulness. Needless to say, for most water-deficient areas, there are not enough groundwater resources available for playpump to use.

How can this demand be widely used for products with serious flaws? A local complaint explains everything: "Before the PlayPump installation, no one came to ask us for advice, and we were not able to have any choice about the type of pump that was installed." "PlayPump installation method is: A team of Western volunteer team into the village, in the villagers surprised, the old pump demolition replaced PlayPump, after the villagers explain what the benefits of this equipment."

Of course, it is not accurate to say that PlayPump has not adopted the user's needs at all. As it was filmed in its promotional video, when the device was first used in South Africa, the local children were scrambling to play and the adults seemed happy to get water. The reality is that when the camera shuts down, the children quickly disperse from the playpump, and the real effort to fetch the water is still the poor women. For the device's promoter, they saw what they wanted to see: PlayPump was very popular with locals, but did not realize that this user feedback was ineffective and not a real requirement.

Product design and user requirements

The essence of innovation is to constantly try something new and to deal with its possible risks.

-playpump Support Foundation The case Foundation CEO Jean case

But in constant attempts, there is no doubt that there should be a more optimized product strategy, rather than being taken for granted and innovated for innovation.

The path of the product design

How can a new product innovation be implemented? is the developer-led and the full implementation, to be launched after the user feedback, or in the early decision stage of the product to mobilize users, and constantly absorb user feedback? Mark Hurst thinks it should be the latter, and PlayPump's frustration is a good case. When product decisions affect users, you need to incorporate their needs into the decision making phase, only to find real innovation in the user's needs.

New York's Flushing Society Park, once a high crime and bad environment, is a dangerous place for the public, and the New York government has tried to transform it by unilaterally improving the environment and strengthening regulation, but it has been fruitless. A survey of local citizens found that the only active activity in the park was the occasional walk of a few citizens. Park managers have adopted an experimental program that the improvement of lawn quality in the park, the abolition of the public in the park to walk the dog must use dog rope rules, this small measure has produced very positive results, the park's popularity quickly improved, the environment began to slowly improve, the crime rate began to slowly decline. Only the satisfaction of such a small demand for the public has a very significant positive effect, which is certainly worth the reference of the product designers.

How to grasp the needs of users

A good product designer must be a keen observer who needs to know more about the real needs of the target user at home, at work, during the journey, and in other use scenarios.

1, with an open mind to observe user behavior, without subjective prejudice;

2, to explore the user's core, unmet needs;

3, so that product innovation and user needs to reach a consensus

In addition, designers must have their own adherence to the point of view, just as the lens is excited to use PlayPump's children, after all, the needs of users are sometimes not the real demand, and the product to find out the new needs of users are not uncommon cases, in this case, Apple's products can be said to be an example.

Rococo Design Group strategy and research director Jianhua a principle for product design and user requirements-"help people, limit people." She shared her company's experience in product design at the "Critical design" of the business value Hyatt.

Rococo has been involved in a product case is to join the information display of the supermarket trolley design user needs research. This new feature allows users to view product introduction, discount information, supermarket product layout and other practical information when they buy things, supposedly can improve the user's shopping experience, but in fact, few people. Several practical methods have been used in the study of Rococo's user requirements.

1. "Preset issues-observing user behavior-Identifying requirements"

This approach requires designers to consider themselves as users, starting with the experience of end-users who often use the product, and even making preliminary predictions about the causes of these problems. Then put these predictive problems into the actual use scenario, observe and investigate the user's behavior, to verify the assumptions, and expect to find new problems, and finally through a series of observations, sorted out whether a product or a function to meet the user's real needs, Determine what is the core reason for a product to be loved or discarded by the user.

2. User behavior Operation slicing module

How do we analyze the user behavior that is recorded? Ordinary visual observations can reveal some of the problems, but the potential psychological factors for the user's specific behavior may require more precise analysis. Another research method of Rococo is to slice the user's behavior data (mainly video recording) by frame, and analyze the user's subtle behavior to excavate the deep reason and inner demand of user's behavior.

For the case of supermarket trolleys, Rococo will be the supermarket trolley users of video records are sliced, in order to take the car, put the package, browse, take goods, checkout and other consumer processes for user behavior analysis. The analysis results show that the original trolley design has defects in the design elements such as the height of the trolley armrest, the position and size of the display, so that the user is inconvenient to use, so few people use it.

The final conclusion is that consumers think that a trolley with a display or a trolley has no change in nature, so he treats the trolley in the way he normally treats the ordinary trolley. But in fact, after adding the display, the positioning of the two has been different. In the initial design, everyone, including the customer (supermarket), the designer, did not realize this, so the final product failed to really help the customer solve the problem.

When the product for the user's help and restrictions can not achieve the ideal balance, it is conceivable that the product must be failed, or it does not help users to solve the actual problem.

As Mark Hurst said, good products are the game and trade-off between user needs and designer's ideal design.

Article: Geek Park

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