Ours is an age of incredible and accelerating change.
To take one example, only five years ago, there was no such thing as an “app economy,” an economy that has since created over a half-million jobs in the US and is expected to generate $151 billion worldwide by 2017. Today, we read about self-driving cars, the “sharing economy,” and the Internet of things, all of which promise continued disruption in how we work, live, and play.
Many organizations struggle to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities offered. Working across channels, touchpoints, “mobile strategies,” they are unable to connect with the right people, at the right time and place.
Thinking about this as a problem of technology (e.g., mobile) or medium (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc.) is backwards. People want to connect with you in a way that matches their needs and desires at specific moments and places. Deeply understanding the people that matter to you, and intentionally designing a cohesive and coherent strategy—online, in-person, everywhere!—is the key.
This is the essence of human-centered design. The most successful organizations—think Apple, Nike, or AirBnB—have already made it part of their culture. We see an accelerating trend in 2015 for successful organizations to embrace and integrate human-centered design into their practices. Here are a few key elements to consider:
Design for Context
Mobile required designers to consider the constraints and contexts of the experiences we design in a very different way. This trend is accelerating as wearables and the internet of things emerge as major focuses in 2015 and beyond. As a consequence, human-centered design and ethnographic research will continue to grow in importance.
Design for Services
As touchpoints multiply across desktop, mobile, wearables, etc., seeing how the parts combine to add up to a greater whole will prove essential. The various experiences designers create will need to intentionally fit within larger service ecologies so as to deliver seamless, rather than fractured, experiences that support brand promises.
Design for Business
Design will continue to become a differentiator. User experience is interwoven throughout an organization, from its strategy to the services and experiences it delivers. Smart organizations will embrace and deepen the role design plays at all levels to further customer engagement.
Design for Delight
People want to feel a connection to others (and to the organizations with which they engage). Empathize with them and seek to increase their happiness in the ways you present your organization. As Stephen Anderson put it: “At this point in experience design’s evolution, satisfaction ought to be the norm, and delight ought to be the goal.”