IDEO designer Jane Fulton Suri figures out unmet consumer needs by watching ordinary people doing ordinary things.
As the leader of the “human factors” group at IDEO, the international design consultancy, she and her colleagues will watch kids brushing their teeth, parents pushing strollers, or patients checking in at the emergency room, trying to find opportunities for design to improve the experience. Yet often that means looking for something less obvious: the ways in which the experience can improve the design.
Their observations have brought rubber grips to Oral-B’s toothbrushes, raised the height of Even-Flo’s strollers, and streamlined DePaul Health Center’s check-in processes. For Fulton Suri it’s as if the world is one big beta test, in which every feature is begging for improvement.
“Thoughtless Acts” is her book that shows random acts of design witnessed in everyday life. Some shots from the book below.
Creative Generalist has an interview with Suri:
In your experience, what type of personality typically makes the best observer? I find that curiosity, open-mindedness, and imagination are important. It helps to be non-judgmental, able to move easily from noticing detail to thinking about patterns and the big picture, perceptive about (their own and other) people’s behavior, motivations, and personally genuinely interested in other people’s points of reference.