Not too long ago, product designers had a lot more control. As designers, we knew exactly which device and software our target users would use to consume information and interact with our product. We knew the specific interactions that users would use and how they would experience our product. So it was easy to rely on traditional task analysis and customer profiling to figure out how an interface should work. Not anymore!
Nowadays, there are thousands of different devices and tons of different ways people can consume information and interact with our products. Think about it. We have absolutely no idea whether the user will use a TV, a laptop, a phone, a tablet, or some other hybrid device to use our product. Then there's email, Twitter, Facebook, RSS, or whatever else to consume information — we don't always know which of these a user will turn to.
We've lost control of how customers will interact with our products.
What does this all mean?
It means that we can no longer focus on building 'a thing' to solve a very specific situation. We need to build a more holistic solution to a bigger problem. We need to understand the drives, blocks, emotions and beliefs of our users at key conversion points as they use our products across all the devices and use cases.
Eric Schaffer, of HFI International, discusses this very problem and how Persuasion, Emotion, and Trust (PET) analysis helps product designers build holistic solutions.
Times have changed. The old ways of task analysis and customer profiling don't work anymore. We've got to think bigger when it comes to the people using our products and how they're interacting with them.