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Create Your Best Products with Human-Centered Design

Mcdonalds Big Mac meal
Written by Kate Braner

The newest track in our Design Thinking curriculum will get you started.

Earlier this month, we launched the first track in our design thinking curriculum to put your team in the mindset of innovation. Today, we’re adding a second track to help you bring human-centered design thinking principles to your organization.

Many of the products we know, love, and use every single day were built using design thinking principles. Human-centered design is front and center every morning when you swing by Starbucks to pick up your coffee or when you sit at your Ikea desk to work on your Apple computer. The ideas for these and many other innovative solutions often come from paying close attention to the person who will ultimately use them.

Don’t assume you know everything about your user

In the 1990s, fast food companies started offering menu options to cater to a more adult palate. In order to keep up with the competition, and expand their market, McDonald’s tried going the “gourmet” route with a new menu item, the Arch Deluxe. Sound familiar? Probably not. But maybe you remember the commercial.

McDonald’s wasn’t fooling anyone. The Arch Deluxe quickly failed because it was at odds with their brand, out of touch with their customers, and created something that most people just didn’t want. Do you think McDonald’s even asked their customers what they wanted?

Should I ask my users what they want?

Well, not exactly. Ask too many questions and you might quickly fall into the product death cycle. Sounds scary, but it happens when companies focus too much on answering the direct requests of their customer base, build something based on those answers, and ultimately achieve underwhelming results that are easily copied and outdone by the competition.

Asking your users what’s missing from your product and adding those features may seem like the obvious solution, but most people can articulate what they want, not necessarily what they need.  Folks tend to be aware of what they don’t want, too. In the case of the Arch Deluxe, it was a round piece of peppered bacon on a burger patty doused in “secret” mustard sauce.

Go deeper to understand the user

Understanding your user isn’t merely asking them what they want and then replicating it, it’s about putting yourself in their shoes. Spend time with them, shadow them, and most importantly, ask questions to more easily identify pain points and patterns of behavior. Had McDonald’s understood their customers just a bit more, they would have saved hundreds of millions of dollars and a lifetime of embarrassing “top product flop” recognition.

Ideas happen when you open yourself up to the world, understand your customers better, and begin thinking about solutions in a more creative way. With the latest track in our new Design Thinking curriculum, you’ll get 11 new microlessons that will give your people a deeper understanding of human-centered design, as well as the tools you need to get started.

Your team will learn how to:

  • Put humans at the center of your problem-solving
  • Get the right information out of people
  • Make decisions effectively

Here’s a taste of our latest track, Maximize Value With Human-Centered Design:

Like what you see? Get in touch with your Customer Success Manager or one of our learning specialists to get started.

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