A Human-Centered Approach to Building Great Products

Building great products is more than designing interfaces; it’s about creating excellent experiences. In the mid 1990’s, Dr. Donald Norman, a cognitive science researcher and Director of the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego, was one of the first people to describe and advocate for the importance of Human Centered Design. His belief that design decisions should be based on the needs and wants of users in order to be most effective, significantly altered and elevated the role of strategic product design in companies big and small. Here at Reflexion Health we value what our customers need and want and incorporate their feedback as we continuously innovate our product.

Human Centered Design and its sister discipline, User Experience (UX), are methods used to build great products.Studies have found that every dollar spent on UX brings in between $2 and $100 dollars in return. Forrester revealed that 'implementing a focus on customers’ experience increases their willingness to pay by 14.4%, reduces their reluctance to switch brands by 15.8%, and boosts their likelihood to recommend your product by 16.6%.

"So, what is it about the discipline of UX that elevates Reflexion Health and our product?"
 

The craft of UX is a blend of creativity and analytical acumen. It is a thoughtful approach that focuses on defining crucial problems and delivering relevant, desirable, clinically viable, and technologically feasible solutions. These solutions are held to the highest standards of usability, whereby usability is a measure of the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users can achieve specific goals in a particular environment (Nielsen / Norman 2015).
 
Let’s take a deeper look at 6 core principles of product design outlined in Don Norman’s book, The Design of Everyday Things, to uncover the powerful impact of UX on the Reflexion Health product.
 

1. Make the correct things visible.

Visibility is concerned with making relevant parts of a product visible and the tasks at hand easy to see and find. If we attempt to make everything important, we will in effect emphasize nothing. Proper visibility reduces unnecessary friction and is directly related to increased user engagement.

2. Maintain a continuous feedback loop.

Users should always know the status of a system. Feedback is concerned with sending information back to the user so they know what they have done. Feedback is a critical way to help users avoid frustration and confusion.

3. Constrain user interaction.

Restrict the type and amount of user interaction at any given time. A constrained experience decreases cognitive load (the amount of information we are processing at a given time) and increases user focus and accuracy. Low cognitive load is directly related to user delight and satisfaction.

4. Give the right clues.

The affordances of an object determine, naturally, how it can be used. When the affordances of a physical object are perceptually obvious it is easy to know how to interact with it. It is crucial to understand common affordances and present clues to encourage users to interact with your product intuitively.

5. Map controls and effects naturally.

Mapping refers to the relationship between controls and their effects. Controls and displays should exploit natural mapping, whereby natural mapping takes advantage of physical analogies and cultural standards. Appropriate mapping encourages users to act intuitively and as such with greater ease.

6. Be predictably consistent.

Create interfaces that have strong operational patterns and use similar elements for achieving similar tasks. Consistency extends to both the aesthetic and functional quality of a system and makes products easy to learn.

At Reflexion Health, we value the importance of UX and the role it plays in the development and success of our core product—one of the world’s first virtual exercise rehabilitation assistants. Our focus on Human Centered Design challenges and encourages us to see care delivery and population management in a whole new way. This focus helps ensure that every touch point of our product’s lifecycle is intricately crafted to meet the needs of the market and our customers. This thoughtful and highly credible approach is just one of the things that sets us apart from the competition. Building great products is about creating excellent experiences, and that is exactly what we are doing at Reflexion Health.

by Dana Larson, Director of User Experience