Human Factors in Innovation: Designing for Adoption

3 November 2012

UX Brighton 2012 was a fantastically brilliant event. I was truly honored to share the stage with a first-class line-up of speakers: Alex Wright, Mark Backler, Guy Smith-Ferrier, Ben Bashford, Sriram Subramanian, Mike Kuniavsky and Karl Fast. Wow.

The theme of the event was “Past & Future Interactions,” which took us from hundreds of years in the past via Alex’s history lesson to Guy’s controlling computers with his brainwaves. What a ride. One of the best single-day conferences I’ve ever attended.

My talk was entitled “Human Factors in Innovation: Designing for Adoption.” Here it is on SlideShare:

And here’s the summary from the conference program:

The ultimate goal of innovation is user adoption: we want people to actually use the things we create in a way that impacts their lives. But building the better mouse trap guarantees nothing. In fact, history shows it’s not the whiz-bang of technology but rather human factors that matter in the end. This is where UX designers come in. Through empathy and understanding of people’s needs and perceptions, we can increase the rate of adoption.

My intent was to give UX designers additional, high-level arguments to better evangelize UX or convince stakeholders for more time and money. I made 4 over-arching points in the course of the presentation that sum up the value of UX design in relation to innovation:

  1. The impetus for innovation has no start point: it’s an iteration between technology and needs.
  2. The end point of innovation always lies with users: the ultimate goal is adoption.
  3. UX reduces the risk of non-adoption and accelerates the rate of adoption.
  4. Good UX is good business: it is essential for innovation and for growth.

“Risk” and “growth” in business contexts aren’t things UX designers general talk about. These are terms business stakeholders understand and will grab their attention.

We need to live up these expectations, however, so my positioning of UX presents a real challenge for us. I hope you’re up for it!

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