The best time to design a great user experience is before you write a single line of code, draw your first product sketch, or create your first product outline.
But that isn’t the way things usually work. People typically don’t think about their customers’ experience until after they have a prototype, a mock-up, or even a final product. And while most product managers make an honest effort to think of the user as they build and test, development invariably gets in the way.
Materials get in the way.
Code gets in the way.
Budgets get in the way.
And so the end result is most often not the product equivalent of the iPhone, a Rolls-Royce, or Tumblr.
But we really wish it was, don’t we? We really wish—after we’ve spent months or even years finessing a development cycle—that we had something special, and that people would flock to our product in droves. And that is why those products named above stand out. Someone at each of those companies was the champion of an exquisite experience from day ONE.
…to get there, we study people.
Experience Designers work to understand the user, what they want, and how they want it. To get there, we study people. That’s it. We look at demographics and data and then we watch people in person, using product. It is this study, plus our detachment from a project’s code, budget, and pre-conceived notions that give us our expertise.
You too can do this if your company is large enough to support a small department of Experience Designers (testers, researchers). If you are a smaller company, giving the role to a non-product executive is the next best thing. And, it’s how many mid-sized companies are installing Experience Design into their organizations.
We all want to build good products, but the passionate among us want to build great products. And it’s these folks who know that every experience associated with a product is important, from seeing an ad in a magazine, to buying the product, to using the product day in and day out. It’s this passion for understanding the customer that builds great products.
Be passionate about your product. Embrace your customer through Experience Design.