The User Is the King, Right?

Getting lost at the airport. Struggling with trying to get the email synchronized in your mobile phone. Getting angry when trying to remember how to get an important report out from the company’s data system. Sounds familiar, I guess. In most of these types of cases the reason for problems and unpleasant experiences is pretty simple:  user-centric approach has been forgotten in design. It does not help if the technology of a product or a service is very sophisticated, but the product or service is not easy, clear, fast, simple and intuitive to use and it does not fit in the user’s purposes.

Most of the companies in consumer markets have recognised the significance of user-centric design in product and service development already some decades ago. How about the industrial companies working in B2B environment – are they applying user-centric design?

I would say no. Some are of course, but most of the companies in B2B markets do not pay attention in user-centric approach yet. Much more common approach is to focus on technology. Why is it like that?

People in B2B environment think that products and services are used by companies and not by people, the users. But this is not true, right? Also in the B2B markets people are the ones that use the products and services, at least in the most of the cases. Until now people working in the companies’ have been somewhat satisfied with the products and services that are difficult and unpleasant to use and that do not even necessarily fit in their needs. They have thought that there are no options.

This is about to change now. The first signs are already in the air. The new generation that is now entering into the job markets is much more demanding than previous generations. They have gotten used to pleasant user-experiences with the consumer products and services that they use everyday. And they will require the same at work life.

This development has even created a phenomenon called BYOD (bring you own devices). People are bringing their own pleasant-to-use computers, mobile phones and other devices, as well as, software to their work places, because the devices and software that companies are providing as work tools for them are not responding to their needs and expectations.

This is the first indication that the world of products and services is changing towards user-centric approach also in B2B environment. Be aware that you are too. We do.

Timo Rossi
Service Design Specialist, Partner
Jakamo Limited