In the conventional product development process, companies look for new technological opportunities to satisfy the existing needs of the customers. However, innovative designs that really make a difference use technology to meet the needs that customer is unaware of.
Innovative Designs that Make a Difference
In order to make such technological leaps possible, teams should work with experts who have deep insights on the user. Companies such as Nintendo, Apple and Swatch successfully implement this method. These three brands have radically changed the buyer motivation and product usage through application of technology. For instance, as a result of Nintendo’s MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) accelerometer application, gaming experience has shifted from a virtual to physically active entertainment.
Apple’s iPod and iTunes Store has helped people discover, buy and create personal playlists, and offer a solution to music piracy. Thanks to quartz clock technology, Swatch changed the perception of a watch from measurement tool for a time to a fashion accessory. These companies weren’t the first ones to use these technologies in their products. However, they managed to find the most meaningful and profitable way of using the technology.
Effective product strategies are developed in an environment where innovation is appreciated and stakeholder engagement is high. Instead of focusing on technological opportunities to meet the needs of the user, the approach should be towards bringing a new perspective to user experience.
Designers and engineers should embrace a multi-disciplinary approach from conceptualization to prototype production. This is the way to create new products that instantly build a connection with the user although the product wasn’t exactly what the user demanded.
The Pursuit of Innovation
When it comes to new or emerging technologies, most companies’ innovation strategy is to replace the new technology with the old one. The main question in this regard is the following:
“Is it possible to replace the new technology with old oneto satisfy the needs of the customers?”
However, if the company wants to make a difference, it should ask these questions:
“Does this new technology add meaning to services and products?”
“Does the product exceed the existing needs of the customer and give them a new reason to purchase?”
In Product Development Process, First Comes the Meaning, Then Technology
How to integrate this approach into a working model? Normally, companies make research and conduct tests to find what the customer needs. Although such efforts are very effective in perfecting an existing product, innovative product ideas don’t emerge with such an approach, especially if users are not familiar with that technology.
That’ why, the focus should be on how to use technology to transform already existing products and make them more meaningful. In order to achieve such a goal, the team should consist of experts who have the distinct ways to approach and analyze the user. Accordingly, the all stages of the product experience should reflect the comprehensive analysis carried by the experts. Deepening the user experience should be more important than generating ideas, and teams should be able to derive distinct conclusions out of complex scenarios.
Transforming User Experience
During prototype testing, we use a variety of research methods to perfect the user experience. User interviews are only a small part of the prototyping process. We ask how the experience makes them feel and try to understand their self-observations. However, we gain so much insight by observing the user ourselves. Design thinkers can easily identify the problems that the users are unaware of. Our trained eyes detect ‘the problem’ in a much different fashion than the user. We catch the behaviors that users don’t notice on their own and use them to perfect the UX.
In other words, in a market where everyone has an easy access to new technologies, innovation doesn’t mean adapting a new technology into an existing product. Innovation is figuring out how these technologies can be used to create a better user experience.
For instance, automating a coffee making machine can be considered as innovation, but it may not add any meaningful value to the user experience. On the contrary, it may negatively affect the experience by cutting out the joyful process of feeling and smelling the coffee.
To figure out the importance of the human factor in the coffee making experience is a starting point for technological innovation. In short, it is possible to systematize an innovative approach by adopting the right method.
Our Contribution to Innovative Designs
As Arman Design, we ask these critical questions and develop products that don’t just include a new technology but solve user problems in innovative ways. The future is being shaped by the vision we develop today. In this respect, it is our responsibility to see the big picture and contribute to it with innovation. Our design approach is more than solely solving the problems of the users. With a life-centered perspective, we always envision the world we want to live in.