Remember the days of paying $1.99 for one song, or hanging around the aisles of Walmart, searching for your favorite album?
One of the most impressive displays of human-centered design, I’d argue, is Spotify — a product that showed me my prior method for purchasing music was a problem, before I even recognized it as one.
Spotify succeeded by empathizing with their users’ struggle to pay for music from disparate sources, and created a solution we could all embrace. Thanks to Spotify, users are able to get all their music in one place, for one monthly fee. I’m willing to pay more for that kind of tailored, customized, helpful service.
Image courtesy of Spotify.
Before handy fitness trackers, we’d have to estimate how many calories we burned in a day, and find inherent motivation to be more active (which, as we all know, is an untrustworthy source).
The invention of products like Fitbit is undeniably human-centered. The inventors of fitness trackers recognized people’s challenges with tracking and maintaining fitness goals, and provided a useful long-term solution. The product works with the user in mind, by telling the user how many calories she burned, and urging her to get more exercise.
Image courtesy of FitBit.
Venmo is another example of a product which solved a problem before most people realized it was one. I personally didn’t see how cumbersome exchanging money was, until Venmo provided a solution.
In fact, the founders of Venmo, Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail, stumbled across the idea of Venmo only when they themselves encountered the problem. They took a trip to New York City, and Iqram forgot his wallet. Andrew paid for everything, and at the end of the trip, Iqram wrote him a check.
During that exchange of money, they thought to themselves, “Why is this still the best way of exchanging money? Why can’t we do this on our phones?”
The Venmo founders needed to solve a problem they encountered, and built a solution from which other people could also benefit.
Image courtesy of Venmo.
Hopefully, these examples confirm the usefulness of human-centered design for creating long-lasting and innovative products. You’re now ready to tackle your creative process from a new angle — the human angle.