Think of a product you love and that you have recommended to your friends?! Often, these products are not one of a kind in their market. Nowadays, nearly every product can be copied within no time. Just think of all the cheap Louis Vuitton handbags sold on the streets of Bangkok. The same applies to digital products. You can be sure there are competitors which offer almost identical or even the same functionalities. So, what makes the difference? How do you set yourself apart?
How products deliver happiness
Rather than what the product does, it is important how the product makes you feel. Apple realized that when they introduced the colourful iMac computer and sales started booming. Even though those fancy cabinets contained the same hardware and software as Apple’s other models, such a small change, giving the user the possibility to choose their favourite colour for their PC filled them with total joy.
Another example is MailChimp, which proves that it can be the smallest details that sets you apart. Our beloved business development intern was raved about the delightful experience, sending out a campaign with them. His enthusiasm was caused by the animation users see when sending out a campaign: a monkey pushing a button and giving you a high five once the campaign is out! MailChimp uses a friendly and funny tone of voice, like an actual person cheering for you “We’ve got your back - great job!” instead of a faceless bot confirming that you launched your campaign. These delightful elements are what make users feel good and what makes them recommend the product to their friends.
Innovation is the key to success
The power of emotional design
It is common knowledge in the business world that innovation is the key to success. This is leading to companies feeling pressured to ship new features fast and develop product after product investing tons of money in innovation. They neglect to design delightful elements until the very end (which often means never) and this is one of the reasons why so many new products fail. We don’t need a constant stream of new products, we need companies thinking about how their product makes their users feel. Emotional design has the power to turn users into fans, spreading the word about products they love. During the development process, product teams are often simply not aware or underestimate the business value of emotional design. In fact, emotional design not only helps increasing conversion and sales, it even has the power to make users overlook the imperfections of a product.
But don’t get us wrong and make the mistake of assuming emotional design alone will make a product great. The product must provide value to its users first and solve an actual problem. Make sure the messaging is crystal clear! Only combined these elements can lead to products which spread happiness among their users.
Started by define problems
We reviewed the existing process to define improvement as the starting point of the lecture and setup 3 specific goals for our team to achieve:
Creating a common value/ standard for the design outcome.
Creating agreements to clarify the goal and what is included in the project.
Creating measurement to evaluate if the outcome is good enough.
We learn from other existing business model, which is similar with us as examples to do analysis. We tried to reference some of the similarity process to fit into our team situation and test if that would help us. By applying one of the working process mentioned by Tim Brown (IDEO) to measure if there is any missing parts would lead us to reduce mistakes and errors in our existing process.
Develop the process
Based on the existing situation, we develop 2 processes to fit into the design and development journey. Start from asking a specific question in order to find out the direction of the project as specifications to define what element needed to be measured, after that creating criteria to measure if the result is meeting the requirements.
Design Specifications - Provide explicit information about the requirements for a product and how the product is to be put together as a solution to reduce the misunderstanding between designer, product manager, and the client.
Design Criteria - Create measurements for evaluating goals that a function must achieve in order to be successful in order to improve the design and reduce the risk as much as possible.
Learn by practicing
We did a reflection of some previous projects by applying the new process and see if that would help us to improve the defined issues as an exercise. Therefore we would have a clearer understanding of the process by trying it and testing it.
After we defined the new process, the team will start applying it to every future project/task in order to improve the performance. It might be hard and need extra time to get used to it at the beginning, but we are happy to have a try after we spot the value from the exercise in order to provide a better product to our clients.