Six lessons learned in human centred design

It’s often said a customer shopping for a new wallet isn’t actually enamoured with a wallet; they just want a better way to carry their money. People don’t walk around thinking “I want a new payment app” but show them a smart device with ApplePay and they’ll walk away happy. This is the essence of human-centred design.

HCD is all about understanding how people use things, why they use things - and then creating the things they need.

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At ANZ, we’ve just started the roll-out of our new ANZ app. The project took a HCD approach and united a team of developers, designers and engineers with one shared purpose – to deliver an app ANZ customers actually wanted to use.

“HCD is all about understanding how people use things, why they use things and then creating the things they need.”

To do this, we needed to think differently, starting with the fundamentals.

  • Feasibility – Can we deliver it?
  • Viability – Is there a strong business case for it?
  • Desirability – Will customers want it?

Here are six key things we learned from the process. 

Have empathy for your customer

The first stage of HCD is getting to know the human you’re designing for. This stage goes beyond knowing what your customers want - it’s about developing a deeper understanding.

HCD is an iterative approach to solving the right problems in the right way. It requires genuine empathy, which means talking to customers to identify needs or issues and prioritising the most-important things to tackle.

The approach helps remove ambiguity from projects and reduces the risk solutions won’t be accepted and used, all by constantly asking – is this actually what the customer wants?

Be careful when rearranging the furniture

Remember the complete and utter outrage the last time Facebook messed with its newsfeed?  

Our ANZ App product owner Adrian Maciburko says one of the challenges is balancing tension between making things simple while keeping them familiar.

“One of the challenges is people develop habits quickly, especially when they're using an app four or five times a day,” he says.

“It's that constant struggle that if someone came in and rearranged your living room when you came home you'd be quite worried, you’d be like why is my sofa there now? Why has this happened?”

Collaboration is key

It’s important to get people in the room who don’t have your point of view - because they can come up with the weird and wonderful ideas.

While sometimes the ideas might not be technically possible, feasible or viable from a business standpoint it can provide inspiration for a different direction.

For this project ANZ collaborated with a diverse range of customers, shared ideas with companies like Google and involved internal teams not usually involved in its app-design process.

This proved a hugely effective brainstorming technique which lead to a much wider outcome we wouldn’t have achieved otherwise.

There is no such thing as ‘set-and-forget’

In the rapidly changing world of technology, organisations must consistently update their products and services to ensure they meet customer expectations.

ANZ App Senior Developer Sindhu Ankireddy says this is especially important when talking about digital products and services.

“When you come to mobile apps, they're trendy, they keep changing all the time,” she says. “You've got to always be on your toes and deliver frequent releases or you won’t win the race.”

Test, adapt and test again

Think you’ve nailed it? Think again.

Rather than building an entire product from start to finish in one big hit and assuming the first thing you do will be the best – work on it in small chunks.

Experiment, test and learn something from it and once you do, establish what parts work well and build on them.

ANZ App Design Lead Leigh Scholten says experimentation is key to HCD - with the aim to get constant feedback from customers and make small tweaks where they’re needed.

“We tested everything we built, everything we designed, every two weeks, so we had a consistent flow,” he said.  

“[We got] constant feedback - does this work? Is it rearranging the furniture too much?”

Even the small things can make a difference

One of the key lessons learned at ANZ was sometimes it's the small changes, delivered with minimal cost which can make the biggest difference.

The process delivered features in the new ANZ App which were relatively inexpensive to do and which made customers say “Oh my god, that's fantastic”.

Peter Dalton is Customer Experience Lead at ANZ

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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