Chapter 6. Translating Research into Product Definitions

BY ELIZABETH GOODMAN

So you did some research. You have piles of observations, images, video, and notes. Now what?

Designer Bill Buxton sums up the next steps in two phrases. You need to make the right thing—that is, make something the target audience finds valuable. You also need to make the thing right—that is, make the product desirable and usable. To do both of those requires translating the raw data from your research into design action.

This chapter is intended to help you take on two challenges to making the right thing.

The pressing need for clear communication and decision making is the first challenge. As we said in Chapter 4, connected products often rely on complex webs of other products, services, and infrastructures. Mass-market consumers, in areas in which they do not have deep technical or domain knowledge, generally expect a product to come designed and engineered to fulfill a specific need. So the benefits of connected products are often hard to communicate succinctly and clearly...not just to the buyers or users of the product, but also to the people building it.

Frequent friction between business models, users’ expectations, and shared values form the second challenge. This friction can lead not only to UX problems, but also very public controversies if (and more likely when) users discover them. We believe that translating engagement with stakeholders directly into product definitions is the best way to anticipate ...

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