supplies of markers and post-its for design thinking

Why Design Thinking Works

Whether you are experienced with design thinking or have only just heard of it—strap in because we are kicking off a series covering many aspects of design thinking.

Today, many designers are identifying as design thinkers, consultancies are selling design thinking facilitation and training workshops, a growing number of corporations are seeking to infuse their organizations with design thinking, and media from Fast Company to the Harvard Business Review are writing about it.

If you have not yet heard of design thinking, it is a framework that allows non-designers to think like a designer by using a human-centered design process that transforms how we create products and services, how teams work and how entire corporations operate.

If you are not a designer, you may be wondering what is so special about the way designers think, or how is that going to have results that are better than anything taught in an MBA or engineering program? When done well, design thinking causes six almost magical things to happen, creating conditions that significantly increase the chances for radical innovation or powerful new solutions to occur.

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View of the sky from just above a layer of clouds

Why We Happily Turned Down $60,0000

Before engaging with us, our client had a mobile app that was a challenge to use. They had fallen under the spell of feature creep, driving complexity up and usability down. While an iOS app, it did not follow Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines—making it unintuitive. Add to that competing product visions that made the value proposition difficult to grasp.  So we were called in to help.

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Overhead view of tangle of highways to illustrate complexity

Explaining the Law of Conservation of Complexity

Working in both user experience and product management, we see patterns form around our work and interactions with others. One such pattern is that simplifying a system for users often means moving the complexity to another part of the system. When removing user complexity, that complexity will not be removed from the system but will move from users to the development team.

As a product manager, this becomes crystal clear when you are standing between a user experience designer and an engineer, both looking to you to decide if moving complexity from the user to the system is worth a week or more of the development team’s time. Continue reading “Explaining the Law of Conservation of Complexity”

Image os the server rack with wires to represent complexity

The Benefits of Sweating the Details in Enterprise Applications

Ease of use has become the hallmark of a well-designed app. Whether a consumer mobile app or a SaaS product targeted at businesses, we expect our software to be easy to use—with one possible exception. Some believe the enterprise applications that many businesses run on are exempt, not requiring a strong user experience.

Many companies today still run on legacy software, with old and outdated interfaces and user experiences that are lacking, to say the least.

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