Empowering designer tools
How do designers know why a product should look a certain way? How designers come to understand customer needs and make use of them in creating meaningful products to customers is what caught our interest in our master thesis project.
Underneath the obvious needs lay the silent needs that customers can’t formulate verbally, and therefore being hard to reach for designers. Why are these needs so interesting? They tell the story of why a product or service will emotionally connect and matter to customers.
Designers often use research methods that exclude interaction with customers. The research is introspective, where the designer in different ways tries to enact and recreate customer behaviour and their ways of thinking. Such methods do not tell us the full story.
Our research has shown that by combining structural elements from the ethnographic interview together with the essence of play and the understanding of serious play into an existing designer tool, role-play, would allow designers to better understand the people we design for. It creates benefits for all stakeholders involved in the design process by having the most relevant information from the beginning to build everything from powerful brands and marketing strategies to beautiful and innovative design.
We tested our conclusion in a live case together with a small Swedish toothbrush producer with Interesting results.
We have also looked into how to communicate the value of this richer understanding, designer to client, in a better and simpler way from the standpoint of the designer.