What do people want? No, what do people really want? That’s a hard question to answer when they may not even know. This is where researcher, teacher, and designer, Amber Howard, PhD steps in. Howard was this month’s guest lecturer at AIGA’s Lunch and Learn seminar.
“Companies make huge mistakes by not including the customers in the decision making process,” Howard explains this concept further by usingNetflix’s and their poorly conceived subsidiary company Quickster as an example. Simply asking people “what do you want?” isn’t enough. Additional research through open-ended questions and storytelling is key to finding out what people truly value. Simply using “multiple choice” surveys limits the amount of possibilities to those available on the page. By engaging people in storytelling exercises, a wealth of ideas can open up.
People have emotional responses when they are sharing a story, by reliving a memory. This storytelling is valuable recordable data that can be categorized by settings, characters, journey, resolution, and moral and then be analyzed though use of a comparable format. Researchers can then identify patterns and themes through systematic inquiry. The results can show how things relate, what people value, and what people believe.
Decision made based on these results can have a stronger impact than decisions based on simple “yes or no” questionnaires. Exciting possibilities and new ideas can emerge from this interaction that may not have otherwise.
Speaking of storytelling I’d love to keep this conversation open, so post any comment or questions below and let’s share.