I’m sure this recent posting to an Experience Design (or “UX”) discussion group is going to get me in big trouble with some people.

>It is one thing to research a
>customers’ behaviors and habits so that we can design products and
>services that better meet the customer’s needs. It is an entirely
>different thing to create demand for a product or service that is
>existing in the world and needs to be sold.

I’m sorry, but this seems really naive. In what context are we
understanding customer behaviors? In most cases, it is in the context of a
provider of a product or service. You can’t possibly divorce the
exploration from the class of solution you are asked to provide.

>User Experience should
>involve itself with discovering customer needs and desires so that
>better products can be created. It should not work to market products
>or increase demand.

Why is selling product inherently bad? If new, previously unmet needs are
being discovered and satisfied, won’t that automatically increase demand?
If someone determines that a new coffee consumption experience is resonant
within the larger themes of our culture, and can support the creation of a
new brand, a new category of product, a new consumption environment, and a
price premium, all the while satisfying a powerful cultural need, do you
feel that is “bad”?

We are professionals who receive money from corporate entities to support
them in the furtherance (is that a word?) of their goals. I don’t
understand, or enjoy, the need to elevate certain practices above the
capitalist system that most of us are involved in.

The whole discussion of need is broken, IMHO. Get out your Maslow and look
at the NEEDS. If one wishes to solve real needs, then look at the users out
there who don’t have food, shelter, and safety. Create and deliver
solutions for them, without regard to corporate benefit. Everything else is
gravy, and let’s face it, gravy is good. Feeling good about yourself,
feeling satisfaction in a problem solved, feeling pampered and special in a
world where the future is uncertain, those are all gravy. And they are
REAL. People “need” those things, at least they “desire” those things, and
much of the commercial activity in our society is about delivering those
“desires” to people.


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