We need a methodology. A scientific methodology. A methodology that leads to a high degree of innovation but at the same time is easy documentable with regards to publication and certification of the product.
Having worked with web design at Kodebyraaet for three years, I got some valuable experience of the differences in methodology from the whole range of different design companies. The clearest distinction is between the design driven agencies, which uses the visual identity as the foundation in the digital design. The other is the user centered agencies.
The user centred design (UCD) is the scientific one. It comes from a tradition of qualitative and quantitive research. It’s main focus is on analyzing the user to discover their requirements (Faulkner 2002), and developing a solution solely to solve it. The design doesn’t need to be esthetic, but it needs to be highly effective and measurable in solving the objective.
On the other side we have the identity driven agencies, where there doesn’t seem be a common methodology. Trend analyzes, creative workshops and rapid prototyping is used a lot, but they don’t use a methodology that ensures a measurable outcome. But, of course, they really excite me, with some stunning websites that could solve the customers’ needs, solely by evoking feelings in the user through their visual identity and history.
I’ve worked with a lot of projects with quite different approaches. Some just designed without much thought behind it, and some used a lot of hours interviewing, user testing, prototyping, redesign, and more user tests, and so on.
Both types of processes used time reducing content, but the UCD people used more time arguing, and showing stats/user videos of why they should reduce even more. Thus, by using UCD, they obtained the documentation needed for the customer to make the right decision.
So could we use the best from both worlds? Is it possible to use emotional design in medical technology?
The project we are working on follows strong methodological principles, where UCD is clearly the driving force in the iterations from interviews, observations, prototyping, user testing, and so on. The spin-offs are many, and the method ensures us that we cover all the challenges, and at the same time makes it economical by early discovering bottle necks before we go into production.
But I hope we can get some room and time to make the product emotional for the user. To make the patient creative even if they use a product that is purely functional. In positive psychology we see the benefits from the emotional aspects of the users rehabilitation. And I hope we could evoke a lot of those feelings through design. And I sure am going to measure these soft tricks we are trying, because it could end up with a double effect from the UCD and the emotional design. That would be great!