Before we get into the specific case studies there are three general areas where our work is performed that consequently outline the human-centered design process and mindset.
We almost always start a project in this area. We perform a variety of techniques to observe and engage with the target customer and expected user. We seek understanding and empathy so that we can uncover their needs, desires and expectations for a given experience. Understanding how people truly behave, think and feel is the foundation of user experience design. It provides the insights and nuances necessary to create a usable and fitting design.
This is the stage where the teams’ insights come to life and are visualized. We often perform several cycles of divergent and convergent ideation and design to explore several ideas and derivatives to ensure we solving the right problem and creating the right solution.
It is ideal to test your iterations with your intended audience. As you begin to explore design ideas and concepts, you want to continue to collect feedback and create insights that will shape your ultimate design. Typically, as you’re converging on the final design solution, we increase the number of users and do a “summative” usability test. This test serves to function as validation for your design and its usability.
A software company was in the process of building a CRM-like solution for the non-profit space for individuals responsible for raising money from donors. Many on their team had worked in this industry for a long time and they understood their customers well. They hired Kydak to ensure they were focusing their product on both the customer’s needs and that they were building the features that would be a priority for the end user. Kydak engaged with 12 customers across several of their target segments through a series of observations and engagement conversations. We uncovered both explicit and implicit needs and prioritized features that were important to them. This research gave the software company confidence they were building the right solution and focused their scarce resources building the features their customers needed most.
This large higher-ed company, like many companies, was building or improving a product or service. They want to know and understand their customer at a deep level so that they could create a useful and profitable solution. They hired Kydak to create a set of personas that would provide the guidance and insight to create the student experience they had envisioned. We used ethnographical interviewing techniques that went far beyond demographic and psychographic data. We brought these personas to life so that the teams could focus and tailor their solution to their various customers’ needs and desires.
One of the hottest technologies in the market today is the connected car and autonomous vehicles. An automotive company hired Kydak to test the usability and overall user experience of their in-car technologies. Kydak has conducted studies on infotainment systems, head-up displays, cluster panels, augmented reality, mobile apps and autonomous vehicles. These studies uncover both major and minor design flaws. Kydak finds and prioritizes these issues along with suggested improvement solutions and many times alternative design ideas to create a better user experience.
An automotive company hired Kydak to design an augmented reality system in the windshield of their cars utilizing the various sensor technology equipped on the car. One of the first research problems was to determine what driving consumers would desire from an augmented reality solution when most would not understand what this technology could do for them. We designed a bespoke research method that effectively retrieved ideas and concepts out of consumer’s heads. We then went on to build an initial prototype utilizing these insights. We continued through several rounds of design and concept/usability testing to ensure the design was effective, usable and most importantly, did not distract drivers from their primary task.
An educational company hired Kydak to design a competency-based educational (CBE) model of the student experience to launch programs at the undergraduate and graduate level across two colleges. First we facilitated several sessions leveraging the various experts throughout the university to create an initial model. This afforded the team to visually think about the problem and for us to test the model with prospective students. We then sat with many students, often in their homes, to understand their lifestyle, needs and mental model for these types of non-traditional education models. These insights allowed us to significantly modify the model to ensure it would create a great fit with prospective students. We created a set of personas based on student research, and with the CBE model, the university built out the entire student journey.
Human-centered design is a problem-solving methodology that uses creativity, observation, prototyping, iteration and user validation as key tenets to ensure a useful, usable and desirable solution, whether it is a digital app or a company service. Human-centered design also focuses on the business. There might be great designs that perfectly fit their end users, but the design also needs to drive business results!