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Not only is the digital product space incredibly crowded — with user expectations higher than ever — but it’s also teeming with personal data. Our devices and apps know a lot about us, from our credit card information and fitness data to our location and search history. As people become more aware of the data that companies are collecting from them, their willingness to interact digitally with a product will largely depend on whether they trust it.

Design is one of the key factors that determines if a user will trust an app or website enough to interact with it…

Photo by Jonathan Denney

Why do so many digital products fail? They weren’t designed with the user in mind. And because designers are not necessarily the average user of the product they’re creating, we must instead try to put ourselves in their users’ shoes. In other words, we must design with empathy.

“The main tenet of design thinking is empathy for the people you’re trying to design for.” — David Kelley, Founder of IDEO

Being a Champion for Your Users

Empathy, as explained by the global design and innovation company IDEO in the context of human-centered design, is a “deep understanding of the problems and realities of the people you…

Photo by Scott Webb

Disruptive innovation, originally coined by Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen, refers to the process in which a product or service creates a new market and displaces established competitors. It’s a phenomenon that has been helped along by technological advancements like the mobile phone—Lyft, for example, couldn’t be possible without it. It’s required the observation of friction in the consumer experience or the identification of an unmet need in the market—just think about how Netflix made Blockbuster obsolete.

And now, thanks to the low barrier to entry for entrepreneurs, making it feasible for anyone with a laptop to launch a startup…

Photo by Mia Baker

There are more than six million apps in the world today. Since its launch, Apple’s App Store has gone from 800 apps in July 2008 to 2.2 million apps in January 2017, and this number is predicted to skyrocket, with an expected five million apps by 2020. In this increasingly crowded space, the competition is fierce—while the time users spend with mobile apps has steadily increased over the past few years, the number of apps used has been on the decline.

Underpinning these heightened stakes is the fact that users now have higher standards than ever for how an app…


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