March 11, 2013

Would you like to participate in some user research?

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Experience Led Innovation is all about better ways of understanding users of products, services, and spaces.

Our research teams undertake a variety of projects aimed at improving this understanding, through development and validation of 'participatory methods'. This means involving ordinary users in a range of studies which explore new ways to communicate views and provide feedback.

One of these studies is available now on-line, and seeking input from a wide range of people. Researcher Kieu Anh Vuong is studying perceptions of healthcare waiting environments. She says:

"This study is part of my overall research that aims to understand how the design of healthcare waiting environments can have an impact on people. In fact, research suggests that the buildings and spaces we use can influence our health and well-being. The reason why I focus on healthcare waiting rooms is because the time we spend there can often be both long and stressful. However, the relationship between the design of healthcare waiting rooms and its effect on end-users is not well understood.

My goal is, therefore, to understand the user perception better and to turn the findings into practical design guidance to inform the design and healthcare community. I believe that the waiting room can be more than "just waiting" and that design can help to improve our experience in healthcare."

If you would like to participate, please click on the following link:

The study takes around 15 mins, and requires that you are 18 years or over and resident in the UK.

Thanks for your input, and thank you for contributing to our research base.

January 31, 2012

What is Experience Led Innovation?

What is Experience Led Innovation?

Is this something new? Or a new way of saying something old? Why do we need to know about it?

Let’s start by talking about what we mean by this. Experience Led Innovation (ELI) is an approach to innovating which seeks to put the user’s experience at the centre of the process for all types of product and service innovation. Experience Led Innovation pulls together a number of approaches to innovating, including human factors engineering, participatory design, and experiential engineering.

Previous terminology which has been used includes User-Focussed Design, but personally I find this term somewhat limiting. Very often there is not one individual who represents the target of the innovation - but picturing this individual is a technique often encouraged in design and marketing contexts. A more rich and informative source of input for the innovation process is to better understand the experience of the users.

Why is this distinction important? People behave in unpredictable ways, and often do not interact with a product, service or environment in a logical or expected way. They have emotional responses to using products and environments. Look, sound, and feel all influence the way users experience and interact with an innovation. Very often their interaction with a product or service takes place at a subconscious level, so asking a user to articulate or predict their needs is less valuable than observing real experiences, emotions, and behaviours as a product is developed.

I am fortunate to work with an excellent team of researchers and knowledge transfer specialists in this area. From our perspective, the key features of Experience Led Innovation include:

  • Taking a cross-discipline approach to understanding user aspect of innovation – at WMG our team includes psychologists, engineers, computer scientists, marketers, ergonomists, and designers.
  • Accepting that technology innovation cannot occur in isolation from understanding real world user behaviour.
  • Participation and engagement with users early and often in the innovation cycle, closing the gap between post market data and early stage design requirements.

There are an enormous number of applications for this approach… but more of that later. In the mean-time find out more about Experience Led Innovation at the following links:

Experience Led Innovation at WMG, University of Warwick:

Experience Led Innovation theme group: Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network

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