A well respected designer friend of mine once told me in no uncertain terms ‘I am not a screwdriver’ meaning that he was the designer, I had employed him to be a designer, I was not a designer and I should let him get on and do his job. He was right.
In the same vein, why do we so respect the Professors at our educational institutions? Because they are among the most versed in their area of subject having studied it for years and dedicated their life to their chosen topic.
If you listen to and respect the experts around you their advice will make your life easier and you will achieve better results.
The question for us is then: in digital who are today’s experts?
Answer: the users.
It is very important to constantly challenge pre-conceptions of who delivers you the most insight into how a platform should look and behave, and where to get that insight from.
When crafting digital products it is so very important to clearly define the value created for all parties. You need to be able to concisely answer two fundamental questions:
· What will the product’s users gain from this product coming into existence?
· What will the business gain from this product coming into existence?
In order to best answer these questions you have to dive deep into the desired users and get a real understanding of the vision of business behind the product.
The ‘experts’ that will make your product sink or swim are the people who are set to gain the most from the appearance and functionality of the platform – the frequent users. You need to have a very good understanding of the value you are creating and be able to constantly validate and measure that as the product gets accepted into the world. Understand what you are doing well, why you are winning. Innovate and turn up the good, turn down the bad, fend off prey. At every stage seek validation from the users.
Exactly how to go about this depends on a number of factors such as the industry, the type of product, budget, audience and so forth, but the theory is always the same – you need to hold the audience and users in the highest regard, it is they that you need to listen to and it is they who remain at the centre of our work and thinking, the users are the experts.