Can You Design for Humans, Or Just Machines? Measure Your AV System Design Skills

Published: July 6, 2018

Do yourself a favor. Yes, right now. Take this quiz that’ll measure how well you are prepped for human-centered AV system design.

…Did you take it?

Look, here’s the thing: we know most of you reading this know at least something about AV systems design — otherwise, you wouldn’t be on this website. But we’re willing to bet that, sometimes, some of you design systems a little less for a human and a little more for machines.

And that’s fine in some situations. But at the end of the day, this industry is about providing seamless, smooth experiences for people. This can only happen if those people and their specific challenges are at the forefront of AV system design.

What is ‘human-centered design,’ and why aren’t you already using it?

At the 2018 AVIXA TIDE Conference, UX Researcher Rebecca Destello put it this way, quoting a fellow designer:

“Merely being the victim of the problem doesn’t automatically give you the power to understand how to solve it.”

In other words, you can’t expect to understand how to solve a problem for your customer if all you’re relying on is your own past experiences. Even if those experiences are similar to the current problem.

So how do you go about solving problems outside of your own experience?

A better AV system design guide

Destello provides this step-by-step process for designing AV systems. But be aware: you’re not always going to need to start at the beginning or necessarily follow every step. Sometimes, you’ll have to skip steps or even go backwards. It’s all a matter of what the specific problem necessitates.

1) Research

Understand the context of use. For example: when designing a touch screen kiosk for a restaurant, it is important to actually visit the restaurant a few times to understand first-hand where the improvements could be made. Use interviews, surveys, and analytics – and for best results, triangulate!

2) Ideate

Explore ALL possibilities: in your meetings, you should hear more of the “yes, and” — less of the “no, but.” Think as far outside of your box as you can, because you never know which of those elements could actually work.

3) Protoype

Test your ideas with users. Ultimately, it’s faster than coding, and uncovers subtleties and nuances that the latter cannot account for. It’s also cheaper to fix prototype design than a final design after it’s built.

4) Evaluate

Is what you made easy to use?… Is it really? Does it address all of the users’ needs? What works? What needs improvement? What’s missing? Even if it is efficient, effective, easy to learn, engaging etc., it means nothing if it doesn’t ultimately solve a problem.

5) Launch

Getting your solution out in the real world and receiving use cases should be a guided process. Collect data on how it is being used to answer if you got it right by using these measurement techniques: talking to people using the product, looking at use analytics, running surveys, and A/B or multivariate testing.

Read Next: Could ‘AV Integrators’ Become ‘Experience Designers?’ PSNI Panelists Speculate on Future of Their Industry

Just remember: the human-centered design framework stresses that you know where to begin and keep the user at center of all decisions. This makes your end product more reliable because the data you collect specifically says “this button needs to go here, say this, and DO this.”

So try following this framework on your next project. You’ll end up with happier customers and a streamlined workflow.

More info in the video below:

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