Forecasting User Experience

I recently did some photography for a football game. One key skill I learned, and this is what the professional photographers do: to be good at it, to capture the shots that separate your shots from the rest of the people holding cameras, you have to have your eyes open and see 5-10 seconds into the play. You have to constantly predict where the ball might be next. This is not guessing. It takes knowledge of the domain and constant practice. With this said, I believe predicting your customer/user's needs for tomorrow is just as crucial to designing for the current need. To stay relevant, competitive, needed, and wanted, you have to think outside of the "current" box. Forecast market trends, your domain's paradigm shifts, and your target user market is key to play both in the today and tomorrow. Your research has to be dynamic and the product constantly iterated. We all know what happened to RIM and many other companies. 

You are original and creative.

I took this picture after a long, tiresome, and dull day. "You are original and creative", said the fortune cookie. I usually find these messages dull and repetive (the cookie is definitely better). But I decided to do something with these. In the process, I ended up reading a few blogs on creativity, and it also reminded me of a video I came across a few weeks back. You can watch the video here or below.

 

Oh, so you design experiences?

Try to explain to some what experience or interaction design is and watch the looks and questions you get. Design, to most people means graphic or web design--basically the obvious facets of visual design. You mention experience design, and it's as if you have pulled the plug to that little light bulb that goes off in their heads each time they think of design.

I recently had an experience with a particular individual. I was explaining to him what Human Computer Interaction consisted of and what User Experience (UX) design means. In the early phase of the conversation, he mentioned "What software program do you use?" I was puzzled for a second since I didn't really understand the context of the question. "What do you mean?" I replied. "Ummm, like what software do you use to design, ummm, experience and stuff?", he said. Of course this led to a conversation which consisted mainly of me trying to explain the UX field.