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Product Details Matter — A physical inspiration for digital creation
User experience happens in physical space as well as digital and I think people who are crafting digital experiences can be inspired by really absorbing how people creating physical space/experiences observe and respond to user needs.
Here is an example:
[caption id=”attachment_1781" align=”alignright” width=”225"]
A simple shelf at Toby’s Estate in Williamsburg[/caption]
You ever have the experience of leaving a coffee shop juggling your phone, your bag, maybe a newspaper or book or child and your lovely, hot cup of caffeine? You get to the door and because shop doors can’t open out onto the sidewalk into pedestrian traffic, you need a free hand to pull the door towards you and open it…
What do you do with your coffee?
At a shop in my neighborhood, the cash register and counter where you order faces the door and the team behind the counter spent months watching their customers (including me) do this uncomfortable dance at the front door. They realized that no matter how good the coffee was and no matter how close they got to the perfect hipster-cool vibe of the place, everyone was leaving a little flustered/frustrated because the door required a free hand.
They solved the problem with a simple shelf. One person thought of it, another built it and installed it. It works.
The architect/interior designer who were “responsible” did not think of this, but after watching customers for months, a barrista realized that they needed a solution and had the freedom to act on their insight/empathy for the customer.
At your start-up, make everyone accountable for the success of your product and build your culture to give everyone the authority to act on their insight, especially in areas where it is “not their job.” I bet you will find little shelves getting added all over the place and your customers will be happier.