Design is the way products are supposed to work. It is not just adding a little swirl after the product has been finalised. When a beautifully designed product fails in the market, should we blame it on design? Would you say that Google Glass failed because it was badly designed? The features were cool and innovative. You could tap into Google’s massive treasure trove of indexed information and more at a tap. So why did it fail?
Empathy goes beyond features
Features are created with logic. But users look for designs that have empathy. They care about what the design makes them feel. With Google Glass, there was a possibility of our safety and privacy getting compromised. Imagine periodically tapping the sidebar of the Google Glass as you take photos in the museum you are visiting, or saying, “OK Google, to send a message.” Google Glass failed because of what it made users (and others around) feel – despite its features.
Stop being a tourist
Designers need to design with empathy. That means giving up one’s prior knowledge of the subject and looking at it with the eyes of a novice to understand the feelings of a user. This is easier said than done.
Observing people in their natural surroundings is a good starting point. But don’t do it like a tourist. Instead immerse yourself in that world.