I wanted to take the time to share a couple of takeaways from the 2012 Georgia PDMA Summit! The Summit itself was an educational gathering of people focused on new product development and related disciplines. Plenty of enlightening material was shared; here are just a couple of anecdotes.
So, this first insight isn’t what most people mean by “Lean UX.” This insight is about the user experience of leaning.
It comes from Marcelo Marer, Chief Creative Director at Intel Media, formerly of the BBC. Marer delivered an engaging talk about “Contrasts in Experiential Design.” The first insight, new to me but perhaps already established in the world of media, is that of “lean back vs. lean forward” media consumption. Web content is often actively found by an engaged user who wants to view it immediately, with the body language of sitting at a desk leaning forward while watching. Television content is often passively engaged while leaning back on the couch, which is a more relaxing experience.
Now, of course, we must consider the experience on the stalwart desktops, but also laptops, tablets and smartphones, and all the implications that fall from those options — for example, depth of interface and duration of content that are appropriate to the user’s device. Keeping this fundamental distinction in mind on behalf of the people for whom we’re designing products can lead us to breakthrough user experience.
The second insight came from a session led by Matt Rushing, Director of Product Management of Global Electronics and global Engines, at AGCO Corporation. Rushing spoke about “Customer Driven Innovation: A Global Perspective,” and the specific tactic that I made note of was a modern take on the focus group. AGCO uses a private Facebook group to get input from select customers, and with which to engage the community in meaningful conversation. Since Facebook is pervasive and this increases the odds that a company’s customers already have accounts, this makes great sense!
The reason this struck me as interesting is: AGCO makes tractors and farm equipment! People operating farms may not have the best access to internet service due to remote locations, and may not be early adopters of cloud technology–but whether or not it “Should,” the Facebook platform works for AGCO! Is your internet startup struggling to regularly put ideas in front of a core group of trusted clients under an NDA? If so, do you really think if AGCO can pull this off, that you cannot?
The talks at the Summit consumed most of a full day, and many interesting stories were told, but I wanted to highlight just a couple that jumped out at me. I hope you get something from reading them. For more from the Summit, please check out the post my colleague Karol McCloskey previously wrote on AgileScout.