Author Archives: Ryan Hall

Keeping the Design Human

Finding new ways to connect to your consumer is harder than it’s ever been before and the expectation for flawless experiences is extraordinary.   If we think about who buys, uses, and connects with your products the complexity of our new business world and unprecedented rate of change make is forget that at the center of our world is humans. Whether your product is a new air filter,  a new fitness monitor or new insulin pen – you need to deeply understand and design for your user. All too often, we meet with product innovators who forget that regardless of how great their idea is, if it isn’t putting humans first – it’s not going to connect.

We’ve all ended up buying products that at first glance appear to solve our problems and make life easier, but in the end, simply end up complicating it..

To help put an end to great ideas getting lost in poor design, we want to take a deep dive into human-centered design. We want you, regardless of your role or niche, to remember that humans and human need must be your core focus. The only way to get to the real emotional and personal attachment that we all give our most favorite products, websites, services, tools, etc. is by establishing a human-first approach.

You might be thinking that of course, it’s obvious that you need to put your users first and think of how your users will interact with your new product. But, think of the packaging that came with your latest purchase or how confusing it was to assemble your kid’s bike or how frustrated you get with the tiny buttons on your remote control. Exactly, our point – these were not created with a human-centered design process  – and at Radius we have the people, expertise, and process to help.

Good design and real success are intrinsically linked. They don’t happen in a vacuum and one can’t supersede the other. With a foundation in discovery, innovation, and human-centered design, you get the innovation you’re seeking.

What is Human-Centered Design?
Google human-centered design and you’ll get multiple pages of search results taking you to different companies who have various opinions on this topic. At Radius we take a deeply engrained cross and multi-functional approach to ensuring human-centered design is at the forefront of our thinking from insight to commercialization.

The definition of human-centered design as outlined by ISO 9241-210 – Ergonomics of Human Centered System Interaction, states:

Human-centered design is an approach to interactive systems development that aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, and by applying human factors/ergonomics, and usability knowledge and techniques. This approach enhances effectiveness and efficiency, improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability; and counteracts possible adverse effects of use on human health, safety and performance.

This is heavy terminology. Let’s break it down and look at it carefully:

  • Aims to make systems usable. This idea must be proven to be usable, well-designed, and applicable to the problem at hand. Ensuring the core functionality is achieved by your user group is critical.
  • Focusing on the users, their needs and requirements. Knowing the user and what they like, dislike, want, need, definitely don’t want, and how best to deliver this. The user is at the core of every step forward and subsequent step back to reframe and adjust.
  • Applying human factors/ergonomics. Understanding users capabilities and limitations through a cognitive, physical and emotional len’s are critical to understanding your problem then designing amazing products to meet their needs.
  • Usability knowledge and techniques. Content strategy, visual design, usability testing, digital design, haptics, front-end coding – all these are required to build an intimate understanding of what your users want to experience.
  • Enhances effectiveness and efficiency. Does this product make sense? Is there industry demand and technological support for this idea? How does this idea improve the lives of users? What other products are out there trying to do the same thing?
  • Improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability. You need to know that you’re on the right track, that you’re creating a product that ticks all the boxes for your users. Will user desires be met? Does it make life easier? Will the user accept it and use it?
  • Counteracts possible adverse effects. Relentless testing, prototyping, regulatory standards review, and qualification are keys in successful human-centered design. No one wants to deliver a product that harms or fails.

This is how we deliver innovation. We keep this definition at our core and center back to it during every phase of our discovery, design, development, and delivery process. There is no way to skip a step or do something half-way. All our teams understanding the principles of a human centered design approach and share its application throughout.

Work with the Humans at Radius
Real human-centered design relies on real experts who ask the hard questions, are doing the work behind-the-scenes, and challenging themselves (and you) to get to the ultimate goal of innovation realized and outcomes achieved. Simply put, we have the experts in place that allow us to put the human first.

And to be frank, we’re tired of buying products and services that don’t cut it. Like you, we work hard for our salaries and we want to make sure we’re getting the best we can – whether it’s a car seat that keeps our kids protected or a toothbrush that reminds us to keep at it for a few more seconds or new headset that doesn’t fall apart as soon as it’s unpackaged.

Human-centered design is not going anywhere. It’s not a fad. It’s the real deal. Take advantage of the Radius effect and work with the best.

Stay Smart and Think Design First

First impressions count. What does the product look like? How does it feel in my hand or in my pocket? Do I want that on my wall or taking up space in my house? Is this a product I want to wear on my body? Is it easy to use or do I have to learn a new set of hand swipes/signals or voice commands to get it to work? How does it make me feel? These are just some of the questions and perspectives you need to consider when thinking about product design.

Human Factors. User Interface, User Experience, and Industrial Design experts collaborate to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your product design, ensuring it meets standards for market viability.

Consumer expectation is at an all-time high, even the best idea isn’t going to count for much if it is delivered in sub-par packaging. Therefore, we put a huge emphasis on the importance of how your product will be used and misused. This knowledge is not something that can be determined from spreadsheets or a PowerPoint slide presentation. To get to the heart of the matter and find out if your product is being held back or supported by its design, we bring in our experts in human factors, user interface, user experience, and industrial design.

Real Analysis for Real Design
You have an idea and thanks to thorough analysis and review, you know that there is a need for this product in the market. Now you need to think of your consumer and start asking the tricky questions – the questions that might cause you to rethink your idea or send you back to the earlier stages of product planning.

Do you know:

  • What your customers want?
  • That your customers are ready for change?
  • What your customers currently like and dislike about your product or others in the same space?
  • How, where, why, and when your customers are or aren’t using your product?
  • What is coming up next with technological and material advances?
  • If your customers care about a feature-rich application or simply want it to do the basics?
  • How your product makes your customers feel?
  • If your customers are proud to use your product and be seen using it?

Vital questions. Questions that you can’t afford to not know the answers to. Like we said, these are the tough questions, but when you can answer them confidently and honestly, you can use these answers to guide and shape your product design.

This is what we do at Radius. Our experts in human factors, industrial design, and user experience find the answers to these questions for you. We use our deep layers of knowledge in content strategy, usability testing, story-boarding, visualization, concept ideation, and more to ensure you truly are giving your customers what they desire.

Smart Connected Design

Smart-connected devices elevate the quality of life for its many users, enabling them to be more aware and take control of their personal, professional, and healthy lifestyles.

Think back to the calculator watch – clunky design and borderline “cool” for its day. Now think of the range of smart watches available to us – feature rich and the cutting edge of contemporary design. These watches can be whatever your or I need them to be. For an active person, the smart watch is a step counter, a calorie counter, a heart rate monitor, a GPS mapping device, a training companion, and a motivator. For a worldwide traveler, the smart watch is a booking agent, a universal time keeper, a currency exchange calculator,  a calendar and scheduler, and a boredom killer.

The smart watch truly lives up to its moniker. It is smart. It can help make our waking and sleeping time better. Whether it’s allowing us to stay constantly connected, tracking our health, or allowing us to work and communicate wherever we are. These watches give us freedom and intelligence in one slickly designed package.

This isn’t an accident. That watch that you wear and bring into your material world and that your friends ask about is a result of real analysis, deep understanding about the Internet of Things, and defining what it is that we desire.

There is a reason why that 80’s calculator watch isn’t around anymore. Did it really solve a need that you or I had? Did it look good? Did it make our lives infinitely easier with minimal hassle? Or what is just a “feature”?

This is what we need to make sure we’re doing when we develop, design, and realize your ideas. We need to make sure that we’re working on the next smart watch and not the calculator watch. And this is why we have our experts in design, technology, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, human factors, and usability and functional testing working for you to get you to where you need to be.

Those questions we want you to be able to answer? If we can answer these, then we’re not doing our best for you. You can hold us accountable and make sure that we are getting the answers you need to deliver the best designed product possible. (There won’t be any calculator watches coming out of the Radius Digital Prototype Lab…)

Effective product design requires a team of professionals who are experts in Human FactorsUser Interface and User ExperienceIndustrial Design, and Conceptual Engineering. You cannot expect great design without the entire summation and collaboration of these parts. We believe strongly in the connection between design and success. Radius is your only choice when it comes to a powerhouse design and innovation consulting firm.

Discovery. Design.
Brought together for true innovation.

Have a new project you’re interested in discussing with us?

Contact us today learn more about our approach and how we can help drive improved customer brand engagement while accelerating your products to market.