Customer Experience is a Designers Story

Customers don’t know why their emotions resonate with your product and often proclaimed their devotion by the products functional or financial benefits instead. They speak about the signature features or how much they spend on their latest purchase, instead of why they really bought the product, the added emotional value. The ability to perceive this value, the product story, is the insight you must first gain in order to build the functionality.

Because of this dilemma, production houses and organizations located at the bottom of the design latter think that people demand the feature rich products. But when you scratch the surface, layer by layer, the real demand is the ability to understand their circumstantial need, the story at the core.

Customers don’t need nor buy your products. Your products are just a mean to an end. The ‘means’ is your product, the ‘end’ is the customer demand. Your product is there to fix a circumstantial need, in your customers daily life and your real product is to solve that need.

People don’t buy hammers, they buy the ability to get things done. People don’t buy milkshakes, they buy a refreshing moment. People don’t buy mobile phones, they buy connectivity. Your product strategies and management categorization must be build on such insights.

Understanding the business side of your product, is key to your concept, asking the all important why. Studying and analyzing trends, market behaviors and consumer feedback will guide you towards the true value of your product, the unique and tangible story, that will resonate with your organization and target audience.

Why do you believe in your story? Why is your concept idea important to your consumer group? Why will this product be worth the production efforts and cost? Why will this product resonate as a prototype?

All questions must be asked and answered, challenged and achieved, diving into the dark unknown ocean of discovery, searching for that one key aspect, that will give you a unique market insight.

If you start your story by assuming that customers will change or your expect your customers to change to embrace your story, stop. No good have ever come from this assumption, that people just need to accept your story, as you have. These assumptions will lead startups and established companies to brake, as customers can’t understand what your are implying. As a story teller, you must catch my attention from the first phrase, guide me through your story as the journey unravels and I engage your experience by each function.

Customers don’t know what they want, before you show them what they want. As customers can only relate to them self and their situational desires, they will not revolutionize your products, as they don’t know what story to be told. This is where the designers most important task is starting, telling the compelling, coherent and resonating story that will bond with the user through function, journey and experience.

Creating a conceptual experience is not just a stage in the progressive design PD° methodology, but will define the scope and guideline for the entire workflow.

People don’t enjoy products, they experience them, they inhale the satisfaction of being part of the brilliance and beauty that the designer have put time and effort into. It’s a drug, an adrenalin rush when you get the true experience of a well crafted product which yells simplicity, domestication, beauty, function and magic.

It’s a fascination, a concept satisfaction, a true product indulgence.

Don’t tell a story, which you don’t know the ending to. It’s like listening to your friends, eager to tell a joke, taking you on a roller coster ride of energetic arm gestures and acting, creating immense excitement, as they suddenly realize, they can’t remember the ending.

This article is from the book, Product Design Dilemmas. A modern design ideology for customer driven designers and managers.