User groups are constantly evolving.
This is the second post of a series of four. See the introductory post here!
Most companies are astutely aware of their products’ core user groups. But sometimes, these user groups shift over time – and development or marketing teams may become disconnected from customer realities they thought they knew well. This creates advantage for those companies who first acknowledge their customers are evolving, too: many successful business models are rooted in tapping into previously overlooked target demographics and emerging trends.
For example, in the industrial field, smart digitalization may enable less specialized users to complete tasks previously requiring specialists. At the same time, these specialists can now centrally control productivity – if they are given the tools and interfaces to effectively do so. This creates new business cases for those who understand these emerging needs and opportunities.
"Designing for your users’ evolving needs may evolve your business model, too."
Knowing your users well is essential - how they interact, why they do what they do, what they strive to achieve, what is expected of them. By digging a little deeper into customers’ day to day reality, observing and identifying emerging usage patterns and roles, and by listening to what the users themselves have to say – you may get a much more complete picture of what a product could do for them. This can go much further than developing for the users you already know and having them test A and B versions of a product they already know, too.
It lets you understand their evolving reality and anticipate future developments, and enables you to draw your own conclusions and hypothesis before you start with new product development. Thus, designing for your users’ evolving needs may evolve your business model, too.
When it comes to evaluating new product development, paying close attention to user groups lets you test your product much more effectively – read more about this in the next posts:
About the author: Heinrich Lentz is the founder of Antimatter, a physical / digital product design agency in Vienna/Austria, and functions as its design director. Previously he has been working in product and ux/ui design for agencies in Austria and Spain and lecturing at IED Barcelona.
This 4-part series was originally published by Heinrich Lentz as a single article on LinkedIn in October 2018. It has been adapted to fit the new format.