Friday, April 29, 2011

Why A User-Centered Design Is So Hard To Create?

Start-up businesses are chaotic, primarily because members of a start-up team are not sure of their goals across disciplines such as research, marketing, design, development, etc. Also, they are not aware of their own responsibilities in taking the company forward.

Ideally, to build any online business from ground up, an entrepreneur must set a definite business goal, a designer sift through options, and a developer pick out a functional service, while they all continue to work in tandem.

In reality, things are a bit disorganized. While some start-ups begin with a definite business model, others begin with designs, and yet others, testing things with functional prototypes, although all of them do manage to come up with a well-rounded product in the end.

Agile Start-ups

Most start-ups today, are ‘agile’, capable of modifying or changing their business objectives, web design and development without much ado. Designers, who work at agile start-ups must not only grasp product or service objective, but also effectively communicate product intent to users.

What designers need for establishing user connection is an understanding of the objectives and processes that guide start-ups. Easier said than done because the speed with which agile start-ups advocate change, designers find it difficult to craft appropriate messages for users.

A Design that is User-Centric

Despite a target audience, it has never been easy to design with a clear idea of what users expect, or like. Most designers will undergo a series of trials and errors to create a user-centered design, yet end up with designs that crowns salability supreme.

Good designs take time, but agile start-up environments cripple aesthetic, user-friendly designs. Also, without the ability to understand the market, designers fail to come up with ambient designs that allow good user experience.

Empathetic Approach to Designs

More than any other start-up team member, designers must have an empathetic approach to designs. They must understand the business objectives of the clients, the technical requirements of developers, and usability problems of users to come up with designs that satisfy all three parties.

To create unique and valuable user-centered designs, designers will have to come up with designs that are sincere in approach and empathetically structured and usable.

Problem is, agile start-ups don’t encourage empathy, because almost universally they are unsure of what they want. Sure, there is a primary crowd to target, but just knowing what segment of web users they are targeting to market the company’s product/service, is not enough for designers.

Design Prototypes

Most start-ups will build initial prototypes of designs. But these design prototypes will generally lack any specification regarding the target market. A prototype that targets a 40-50 male audience does not take into consideration what number of 40-50s will be able to grasp the design and tell about the product.

In such cases, it makes a lot of sense to consult UX (user experience) designers to come up with empathetic designs. Ideally, designs should be the outcome of thinking first and acting next. Sadly, most start-ups act first and think later. Consequently, they leave no scope for research before design.

The Ultimate Design Bomber!

Individuals who comprise start-ups have a number of mental hurdles standing in the way of creating empathetic user-centric website design:

  • Designers questioning an idea is questioning the entire team. The validity of marketing ideas need not be proved to designers.

  • It takes weeks of research to decide an audience willing to buy products. But results should be immediate. Besides, it shouldn’t be difficult to sell something beautiful. Hence, designs don’t need research, but only produce aesthetic results.

  • If a design works, it works. If results can be measured in numbers, where’s the need for an up-front design to up UX?

Designers must get as close as possible to users. Product development cannot be the sole purview of entrepreneurs and developers. However, in reality, agile start-ups favor a process that is ‘design-less’. UX designers know better, but other team members don’t necessarily share the sentiment.

No comments:

Post a Comment