Frameworks and Models for User-Focused Design

Each of us is an individual, and each individual is comprised of a specific set of characteristics that define that unique individual. In different settings and for different purposes, these individuals can be grouped by the defining characteristics that they share with other individuals. It is to these characteristics that we must pay attention when designing for a specific target audience. Whether your service is in retail, entertainment, education, and so on, you are focused on catering to a specific group, your target audience, based on that one common characteristic.

The easiest part of designing a marketing strategy is to decide what it is you want to market. (If you don’t yet have a product to market, then you really shouldn’t be marketing it.) Once you have your product, it is possible to narrow down who your target audience is. If you are selling high-tech, $250 women’s running shoes, your consumer profile is likely to be an athletic female, probably between the ages of 22-35, or a sponsored athlete between 16 and 25, adventurous yet focused, and heavily invested in training and conditioning. You learn about who your consumer, your end-user is, what makes them tick, what catches their attention, what you can use to pull them in and convince them why they need what you offer over anything else. With technology and all of its data analysis tools, especially when you factoring in the consumer aiding the user-researcher by their likes, follows, and shares across social media, you can easily build the perfect persona.

Instructional Design models, such as ADDIE, provide the framework for designing and implementing the perfect approach to reaching your client-base. You begin to understand your consumer and build your persona during the Analysis phase; next, you design your approach by outlining your objectives – what message do you want to convey – and your user-experience – how will the consumer interact with my product, what do they want from it – and, lastly, building and testing your prototype – does it work for our sample group; then you move into development, where you take the data collected from your prototype testing and apply it to the product design and creation. Once you have your final product, you are ready for the Implementation phase, putting your ideas and work to the test, and then evaluating the results. From here, you can easily analyze what works and what doesn’t, how your persona changes over time, and how to modify the product to keep up with advances in trends and technology.

All in all, successful product design steps fall into a pattern, from here we create a framework for future product cycles. It’s all about understanding, doing, and testing. Know before whom you create.