To Create Products With Impact

Some time ago, I made this image for an session I presented to introduce user experience design:

Levels of impact, design, and psychology.

There are three tiers of product impact that are tied directly to not only three levels of design, but also three levels of psychology.

The more you desire a high impact product, the more and more you get towards persuasive design. To effectively create high impact products, you need to know how to influence behavior. To influence behavior you must, at a depth that may seem scary, understand the people that you serve.

You start with the discipline of design known as user research.

Through user research, you are in a level of psychology that attempts to understand the current behaviors of people.

With an understanding of current behaviors, you can create products that more effectively enable those behaviors through the discipline of interface* design.

But to move beyond enabling current behaviors, and create more impact with your product, you must recognize that user research also reveals opportunity to create new behaviors.

When you execute on these unmet behavioral opportunities with your product, you enter the realm of persuasive, or user experience*, design. This is where you not only meet current behaviors, but create mechanisms and pathways for people that enable completely new behaviors.

When we understand, to a high level of depth, the people we serve, we create true product value. This is how we create products that have high impact not only for those we serve, but for the wider industry.

* I’m using interface design in this article, as opposed to interaction design in the image, because it is much more accurate. Additionally, I’m not using user experience design, because I view user experience design much more aligned with persuasive design.