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Improving the “User Experience”

Everyone has users of the output they generate. Some of us serve internal users within our companies, while others have external users. The output we generate takes many forms: a product, a service, part of a workstream, a training module, a user interface, a report. Take a look at what you do on a daily basis, consider the different items you produce, and how many users depend on or work with them.

More than likely, you have a crazy number of people using and working with the output you generate every day. Have you ever put yourself in the user’s shoes and thought about the experience being created? Does it meet their needs? Is it easy to use? Does it create confusion? Is it as simple as it can or should be?

These are interesting questions and when I asked them of myself, it made me realize I was not sure of the answers. This is where Design Thinking comes in to play. It is a non-linear process focused on a deep understanding of the user, challenging assumptions, and redefining problems in an attempt to identify alternative strategies and solutions.

The process puts the focus onto helping others, your users reach their goals through restless reinvention and empowering diverse teams. Fundamentals of the process include Observe, Reflect and Make! Immersion into the real world of the users: watch them work, ask questions, test ideas. Next, the team must reflect on what is learned: look within, synthesize learnings, share aha moments, decide together and move with confidence. Finally, they make prototypes: concrete to abstract ideas should be used, the earlier you start to make the faster you learn, put ideas out there before they are fully baked or complete, improve as you go.

Design Thinking is a problem-solving approach that aims to improve people’s experiences. It is fast-moving, iterative, empowers diverse teams to make changes or prototypes, test them, quickly learn and keep moving. The principles of the process are used by the AND group in many of our engagements. The process provides an enormous amount of learning, empathy and understanding of users and customers, allows for an agile approach, and enables and drives creativity and innovation.


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