About UX & Me

“Satisfy the Cat” (a.k.a. User Centric Design)

It's my absolute favorite analogy. If you've ever purchased cat food for your furry companion then you'll understand. If you want the cat to eat, YOU (the customer) must give it what it (the USER) likes. Checkout John Boykin's 3min youtube video

Understandably, the pet food industry takes elaborate measures, via ads, packaging, visions of elegant food with enticing aromas, irresistible textures and sauces, with product names like Seafood Extravaganza, Gourmet Pâté, talking cats, etc, to get you to buy. But it won't matter if the cat won't eat it.

Pet food manfacturers understand they must strike a delicate balance to simultaneously appease you and your cat. If you're attracted to the product, you buy. But if your cat isn't satisfied, you stop buying.

So what does this have to do with software and user experience?

Within many software companies customer focus is as strong as user focus is fuzzy. Few truly know if they've produced something that will satisfy their users. In a competitive market, businesses that employ user centric design processes dramatically increase their chances of success. The enormous impact and cost of not doing so would seem obvious, yet the practice continues...

They need folks who are dedicated to understanding how to satisy the cat.

User Experience is my passion

Yeah, yeah, most designers say they're passionate about UX these days. It's ok if it's true. And it's true with me. My career history demonstrates I've been championing software end users for a long time. It's the only thing I've ever wanted to do.

Good design reduces confusion, helps users stay on track so they can do greater things in better ways. Luckily, I'm well suited to this prescriptive field because I'm gifted with tremendous creativity and a fascination for helping people learn; empowering them.

Clearly, it's a win for businesses as well. Increased customer and user satisfaction, increased sales, recognition/leadership in the market, etc.

confused user
User's Lament
"Why can't they figure out how to design this stuff for normal people?"
User Centric Design is...

It's about figuring out how to satisfy that darn cat. OK, it's about adding user-related items to the product recipe. As the User Experience Designer, I'll employ practical and scientific methods to determine what end users need and want - instead of assumptions and guesses. UCD tasks include:

Analyze competitive and complimentary products
Research users (via observations, interviews, focus groups, surveys, heuristic evaluations)
Define use cases, personas
Define user and task requirements, user goals
Iteratively design & test storyboards, wireframes, interactive prototypes
Produce user interface design prototypes and/or specifications; share with the teams so everyone's on the same page
confused user