A Better Course

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Better Design

October 25th, 2007 · 1 Comment

Chris writes about using marketing and advertising techniques in the design process – starting from the point that ‘a lot of “experience design” is actually just designers doing people-grounded marketing’. This is interesting to me, considering that I’ve got a post to write about how good design is good marketing, and how they two can play into each other.

Part of the reason I’ve been thinking about this has been as a result of reading Simply Better, the premise of which is, unsurprisingly enough, that better service and better products are (in the long run) the only way to acquire and maintain customers. One thing that the authors stress throughout the book is the importance of experiential data – that you don’t know how angry your product makes your customers until you watch your customers using it, and you don’t really know what’s wrong with your product until you yourself have to live through the full cycle of buying it and using it for its natural lifespan. An example used was Persil Power – which over a short period of time damaged the clothes it intended to clean – and the conversations following its unsuccesful launch, in which it became clear that none of the relevant upper management had used the product or even knew anyone who had.

The most recent example (that I’ve been aware of) of a company thinking about the full cycle of a customer’s interaction with a product is the activation on the iPhone – rather than the inconvenience of standing in the store filling out forms, it is activated via iTunes. The experience is at the point of sale, as well as in the use of the product.

It’s likely that this data is exactly the kind of ‘woolly’ research that Chris wants to get away from. At the same time, I’d agree that agility is the only way to resolve this kind of problem – a product needs to be used, and designers need to watch a product being used so they can respond to the problems they see. Fundamentally, it’s part of the interaction between good information and good marketing; I’d be interested to hear how other people have seen design play a part in this.

Categories: marketing · product
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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 chris // Oct 25, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    i’m a great beliver in good user research – the fluffy stuff is the academic discipline of design research, unrelated normally to real design or real products. More when i’m not mashing a phone keypad 🙂