A user-centred approach is the way forward for senior execs

December 15, 2014

Do you really know what your customers want? This is a question a recent article on the McKinsey blog tried to answer. Their solutions are aimed at senior executives, and how design should be placed at the centre of business strategy. But it doesn’t really touch on the fact that organisations are increasingly outsourcing to specialists, and agencies are being brought into service design considerations – especially as the ‘Internet of Things’ calls for that constant level of touch points and interactions. I think a lot can be learnt from the following points, but I also think that there’s a call for organisations to work in tandem with senior executives and an experienced agency.

According to the article, this is what every executive should bear in mind:

Get emotional

In order to create a first-class user experience, you need to have a deep understanding of consumers’ emotions and desires. This means developing insights about the technology they use and how and when they interact. The best way to do this is through immersing yourself in their decision journey in order to bring any issues and problems to the surface.

Understand expectations

When customers like an experience from one brand, they’ll expect or want it from another. Look at dominant trends: connectedness, real-time relevance and transparency being three of the big ones at the moment.

Test, test and test again

The design process needs to be “hyperiterative” – meaning you need to undergo real-time adapting and tweaking based on customer behaviour. Embrace risk-taking and quick learning, and always keep the user in mind – they should be part of the design process from the start. Generally at Proctors we go by the mantra: learn to fail quickly, and know where you are failing so you can change it.


Run a design-led stream in tandem with an analytical stream – this will help you refine your business needs as well as meeting customer needs. Quantifying efforts will help prioritise your focus, providing a benchmark for future results.

Ultimately, customers now have higher expectations; “usable” isn’t enough – it’s got to be useful, too. But don’t you think senior executives need to let go of the reins a little, handing them over to those who are in the know and can allow for the research to drive what happens next?

Jessica Ellis - Business Development Director