Designing for the Digital Age
by Kim Goodwin
“Goal-Directed Product and Service Design”
In today’s age, life has become much less manual and a lot convenient for people all around the globe that have active access to the innovations of digital tools and experiences. They are so closely attached with our lives because half the efforts that we have to make in our daily lives in order to sustain and expand are now being done and completed by technological gadgets, machines and services. For example, the introduction of an iPhone allows one to browse through the internet on the spot whenever he/she might need it for assistance and relevant information.
However, when the interface does not work as how we wanted it to, we get frustrated and annoyed. This could be the result of a poor design process or a lack of user and context consideration into the product or service.
I had taken an Interface Design module in NTU and I was exposed to the process of user research. It not only focuses on how users experience the product or service but it also shows whether the end product satisfies the user’s needs and goals. This is important as it determines whether they will continue to utilize it into their lives or discard it to acquire a better solution to their problem.
One strategy that I was drawn into as presented by the author of the chapter is the crafting of personas for an effective goal-oriented user experience. This allows designers to perceive the needs and objectives of the target user. It also eliminates the designer’s assumptions regarding the behaviour of a user, which is very critical as the product is not supposed to be based on his/her personal interests and preferences. Therefore, any research organized before the creation of personas should be deeply analyzed for it to accurately represent target users.
Goal-Directed Design is a methodology developed by Alan Cooper, who focuses on behavioural design by pretending to be the end user of his product. He positions users at the centre of the design process and puts a huge importance on understanding the needs and goals of those users and then converting those goals into tasks and eventually into a more usable end product.
“Products designed and built to achieve business goals alone will eventually fail; personal goals of users need to be addressed. When the user’s personal goals are met by the design, business goals are far more effectively achieved.” – About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann and David Cronin
Although is a lengthy process, Goal-Directed Design is essential for designers like us to have a deep understanding of the users goals and not just the tasks they perform. Instead of getting slowed down or stuck by the implementation process, it helps us to focus on the bigger picture.
Questions to reflect on:
1. What are the important criteria when it comes to analyzing a set of research data to craft the user personas? Which ones are considered as unnecessary?
2. What is the actual difference between a Goal-Directed Design and a User-Centered Design? Is it a separate methodology or an extension of another?