Successful products and sustainable companies are those that are built on user understanding intertwined with strong design and technical capabilities. This understanding ensures that products that are built are useful, usable and desirable. With that in mind, I'm joined by Dialexa's Head of Design Research, Sarah Reid, and Design Architect, James Utley, on this weeks episode of Custom Made.
With Sarah and James as my guests, we discuss how, with the importance of getting products to market quicker, many companies are adopting a new approach to understanding their users to inform product design. This approach is called lean design research. Because a well-built product with terrible design, is a bad product - and a well-designed product that is poorly built is also a bad product.
You need to place equal importance on the user experience design and the engineering (think Minimum Lovable Product over Minimum Viable Product) to make a product users love and that positively impacts your business
Before you start building your product, and even before your start designing, it is critical to success to understand your users - this is design research. But it is not always necessary for this to take a year, 6 months or even less to understand them. There is a need to understand enough to move forward with a product, and then set up an approach to allow you to continually learn more about your user as your product is being designed, engineered, and even once it is live.
Sarah and James have extensive experience working with startups and large enterprise organizations to help them understand their users, and design the best product that meets both user and business needs.
During our discussion, we cover, what is lean design research, why it is important, and what are some of the techniques to bring this approach to your product development - and for anyone who has seen The Founder a film starring Michael Keaton which told the story of McDonald's. The scene below, where they are developing their speedy system of making the food with the kitchen staff in the basketball court, is a great example of design research in action.
Sarah & James mention a number of great resources that can help further your understanding of Lean Design Research, here are some quick links to help you check them out:
- Axure Prototyping
- Nielsen Norman
- Simon Sinek - Start with the why - Ted Talk
- Dollars to Donuts Podcast
- Validating Product Ideas
- The Sprint Book
You can catch James & Sarah's full Custom Made episode here:
Here are some of the memorable moments from Sarah & James' episode of Custom Made:
- The time and place for Lean Design Research
- Lean Design Research processes and techniques to get you started
- How to make Design Research 'Leaner'
- Understanding who your user is
- Lean Design Research in the product lifecycle
- The challenges with egos, power trips, and politics in product development
- Where to go to discover more on Lean Design Research
And, if you prefer to listen on the go, you can get all episodes of Custom Made on these platforms and many more. Do subscribe on your favorite platform to catch each episode as it is released, and let me know any feedback, questions, and recommendations on twitter @dougplatts.
I hope you enjoy this episode!
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