Innovation in business can seem a bit like space travel – a lot of people talk about it, but not a lot know how to make it successful. Although it’s needed to gain an edge over competition, there are a lot of threats which can terminate the life of a product before it can even see the light of day.
Thus, innovation success is not just about disruption or great UX, but also about the entire creative process, with its principles and methods. This is what Marion Duncan does in her day to day job at Accenture Liquid Studio, London, works on innovative products to ensure they become successful launches. Marion is one of the speakers at Mobile UX London 2018, joining the line-up that also includes Adobe, BBC, Facebook, Google and more. The UX and design conference is now at its 4th edition and will bring together 250+ UX professionals on 21 November in Central London.
Before the event, we caught up with Marion to discover what makes a prototype successfully and what mistakes you should avoid in the design process.
Can you briefly explain your experience in UX? What made you become interested in the topic?
From an educational background in visual design I moved into interface design and then I was naturally drawn into UX. That was about 10 years ago. I started by building flows and looking at information architecture for the websites and mobile apps I was designing, trying to influence decision making and be the voice of the users. I realised there’s not much point spending tons of effort designing beautiful interfaces if the experience is broken!
If there were a list of ten commandments for scaling up innovative design prototypes, what would be your number 1?
For sure it would be that scaling up innovation is not just about what you do (that’s the obvious part) but also about how you do it. We get so focused on the creative aspect of innovation, on the ideas, that we tend to forget innovation is about building new things, making it real. If you neglect the delivery side of innovation, such as operations, security or privacy, nothing you build will ever go live. It takes diligence to innovate at scale!
Sometimes the how even becomes the product. Some very famous examples of successful innovation like the dynamic pricing strategy of Amazon, the use of open-source at Google and Netflix’s video streaming are about the how, pushing the limits of what could be done and doing it extremely well.
What is the most frequent mistake you’ve seen done in developing prototypes? How can people avoid this in the future?
You need to remember that the end goal is not about the creation of your prototype, it’s about bringing your product, or a part of your product, in front of the users so you can learn from it. We mainly build prototypes to demonstrate a set of features or bring to life a vision so when a team decides the features they will implement in their prototype they fail to think about what they want to learn and don’t implement efficient feedback mechanisms. Getting insights is fundamental to scale-up the product in the right direction.
How do you think UX will be transformed in the next years? What trends do you think will become the norm in the following years?
With the democratisation of machine learning and the access to ever more powerful hardware, I feel the biggest disruption into our creative industry, and the UX practice in particular, is going to be computational design (which is using computers to carry out design activities). From turning analytics into design recommendations, from scanning the web to learn best practices, monitoring trends and competition 24/7, algorithms will start making layout suggestions, building navigation systems, end-to-end screen flows and will provide suggestions for imagery and copywriting… so no more error404! because somehow, someone forgot to design or build or maintain that page!
We see computational design already happening in architecture, manufacturing and even in stock photo search engines. Computational design will accelerate the workflow by removing some of the leg work for designers but at the same time it will represent a shift in how we conceive user experience, a radical different approach where the limit between technology and creativity is blurring up.
If you want to find out more about the future of UX, join #MUXL2018 this November in Central London. Get your 20% discount by using code Marion here: https://mobileuxlondon.com/muxl2018/#buytickets/