Learn the importance of the inclusion mindset. In this video, John Maeda challenges viewers to go beyond knowing their customer personas, and move to actually hanging out with your customers. Only through spending time with customers and users can you attain the inclusion mindset and make better products.
- I think part of the challenge of being successful at business is that we've mastered how to address the aggregate, the large numbers, the percentage of numbers, increasing, decreasing, asking macroscopic questions. And in doing so, we easily distance ourself from the consumer, or we use the consumer as a way to say "And the consumer wants this". It's either a way to get a decision through or it's a way to say, "We're kind of getting it right, "let's just keep trying".
I think the greatest disservice to design and products and tech is the invention of personas. Personas, do you know personas, designed by a brilliant man Alan Cooper, it's quote-unquote best practice. "Hey, we're designing this for someone, who's it for? "Well, it's going to be for Ann, the shopkeeper. "It's going to be for Bob, who owns the accounting firm, "or let's take a picture of Bob, let's put him up here, "let's put Glenda up here, let's see who this person is, "and oh my gosh, who are we designing this for?" Bob, is this for Glenda or Bob? Bob, let's get it right.
But no one's ever met Bob or Glenda. No one ever hangs out with Bob and Glenda. It kind of, maybe they read about them. Well, they know all about their persona, but they don't really know them. And so I think that the technology industry has chosen to optimize how to make products for everyone not knowing how everyone feels, and this is a problem. What I find is that today in business, because for the first time in history, I think, you're able to actually see the consumer using your product.
Because products today are instrumented. It's what Hugo Serrazin McKinsey speaks to. How a visual product can be instrumented so you can actually watch how many times they're clicking on it, or where they're clicking on it, or where they just gave up. It was never possible to ship a product and to see that. So it isn't about monthly actives, or daily actives, it's about how is this product landing with that person.
In order to do that work, you have to actually hang out with those people. When I say hang out, I actually mean hanging out with them. (laughs) And not like a Google Hangout or an optimized whatever like a focus group. You actually have to know them, and feel them and you'll find that they don't look like you. And because they don't look like you, you're going to open your eyes. Let me give you a simple exercise. For those of you who are lucky to have a parent alive or a uncle or aunt alive or someone you love, someone you care about, and you're in tech today, watch them use their phone.
Because when you watch them use their phone, because they all have mobile phones now, you're going to see things that are weird. You're going to see them doing things like, "Well, why aren't you doing that? "You're doing this instead." And they're like, "Well, I don't know, this is what "I've figured out, but I can't do this." And you're like, "No, you can do this." And when you show them, they still have no idea why or what you're doing. Concrete example. I got my mom an iPhone recently. She loves it, because it's like, gold. I mean, what a good, blingy, she loves bling. So I got the iPhone, it's like, "Oh, it's so sparkly! "It's so awesome!" And so she was moving her contacts over and she was opening a contact and she was saying, "I just added this information, but what does Edit mean?" And I said, "Edit? "Edit means like, change it." She said "Oh, okay, I didn't go to college, "I didn't know what that word means.
"Oh, edit means change." And then she said, "What does this word Done mean?" And I said, "It means to save it. "You've touched it and you." "Oh, that means save." And I was just thinking like, "Why wasn't it called Save? "Why wasn't it called Change?" And so these kinds of things will only happen if you see real people using them, but if you're in the company, and you're doing the meetings, and you've done the research, and you're like, so right, you've forgotten that that's how that one person felt and probably hundreds of thousands of people felt.
And if you're in business, you would want that customer to be so satisfied that you can't believe it. So you have to address and understand all these types of customers. I believe that more companies that recognize this impossibility have to ask the question right now, how do we get better at design? How do we get better at understanding people? Simple answer is, be more inclusive. Live with the people that are using your products. Be around them.
Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit, perfect example of a CEO so product-focused, when the early days of Quicken, followed customers to their home. Sounds a little weird, but followed customers to their home, watched them, be with them. That's all design is. It's about knowing who your customer is, how they feel, and making a superior product.
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- Defining design
- Designing for a wider audience
- Linking inclusion and design
- Discovering your own lacunas
- Attaining the inclusion mindset