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Designing custom experiences for all

At CEDIA’s Human Centric Design session on the Main Stage on Wednesday, senior AV system designer Rich Green defined human-centric design as a way of transforming an engineering mindset into a humane design mindset. This phenomenon, which began around 15 years ago, has evolved very quickly into what is now being called design thinking.

Peter Aylett, president and CTO at Archimedia, added to this definition, describing human centric design as the link between technology and the discovery process, for example, when you’re finding out who your client is, as well as what their needs and challenges are.

“By gaining empathy with the end-user, you become an anthropologist or an ethnographer,” said Green. “You go into their lives, you sit in their chair, you wear their shoes, you see the world from their perspective, and then have an understanding of where the friction points are and what makes their life a little more complicated than it needs to be. Once you have a better understanding of their needs, then you can start developing processes around that.”

How might we improve a family’s experience as they come home from school or work? How might we make the TV watching experience more effective for them? How might we make the dinner preparation less painful? These were all questions proposed as part of the human centric design consideration.

Adding to this, Aylett said: “It’s all about discovery and empathy. Asking about a customer’s needs is not something that you have to do directly; instead it’s much, much more subtle.”

Green then went on to explain a term used in design thinking called the actionable point of view; the idea is to figure out what people need and then create an action plan to go forward and improve their lives. “Think about creating an actionable point of view, and then let that become the statement of work at the beginning of your proposal,” he said.

“The problem is that we’ve got engineers designing products – you need designers designing products, and then the engineers can solve specific problems that are defined by the designers.”