Let’s Understand Our Users

In an expectantly fresh post, Eric Karjaluot paints the well argumented Invisible Design manifesto, with a trip to the bathroom.

If my bladder had a gauge, the needle would be at its highest point. There’s little time to waste. So, I locate a restroom, make my way inside, pee, wash and dry my hands, and I’m back outside – in less than two minutes.

After zooming in on this experience to explore the design details of a journey through a bathroom with automatic urinals, dispensers and hand driers, he backs out again and concludes this picture by relating it back to designing a website.

Because someone did their job well, I don’t need to think about, or know about bathrooms. I just use them and go on with my day. Just imagine if your website worked like that!

Someone did their job well. That’s the epicentre of this story.

Someone understood budgetary concerns, energy needs, waste water management, sustainability, and user safety. To build products that fits seamlessly into the lives of the people who use them, require us to understand these people. In product design, it might translate to conducting usability testing, drawing up personas, or analising Google Analytics. But most importantly it means getting out of the office.

Getting out of the office is hands-down the most crucial step towards understanding the people who use our products. Without this we cant do our job well and we cant create experiences where people don’t have to think.

It might mean using less affordances, adding an extra click or getting rid of the Facebook login button. Or perhaps even creating a bathroom that doesn’t  have automated urinals, dispensers and hand driers…

Let’s get out of the office and understand our users.