In any business, domain knowledge is most critical. For example, a successful retail business, whether in the form of an internet business or an old economy business, can only be achieved by someone who knows retailing, the psychology of customers, marketing and sales techniques, and many other concepts. – Mr Inderjit Singh, The Art and Science of Entrepreneurship.
Whether it’s a Business to Business(B2B) or a Business to Consumer(B2C) business, the end user who will benefit or make the purchase will always be human. We have to particularly note the needs and wants of the user. What is the consumer using this product/service for? How will it benefit them?
This takes some knowledge of the business domain and understanding the psyche of the customer. You could create the most technologically advanced product on the market, but if people have no use for it, or are unable to use it (too complex), then it would have no value.
Lets take the Ipad for example. Before its invention many were using laptops as they are very mobile. But Apple saw a market of consumers that found using laptops and desktops very confusing. They just wanted a product for basic internet use and to have some functions. So by studying human behavior they were able to design a product that could be easily used by anyone, from a small child to a 96 year old grandmother.
Their focus on human centric design and human’s needs helped make the tablet a very huge success. (There were other tablets in the market, but Apple’s focus on using the fingers and making it user friendly, let to the success of the product).
To design a product better, we have to understand the problem. What do users need? What do they want? How do they think? And how they will adapt to the product? Therefore, it is very important to understand your domain and your customers very well.
If you are an engineer and are creating a technological product to help fashion designers, you will first need to understand what fashion designers do? What are their problems? What do they need and want?
It could take some time to understand another domain, so if you are not strong in the new domain, you could also partner up with an expert of that domain to guide you along the way, building a stronger product. Such collaborations can bring about great innovations.
To conclude, whether its a B2B or B2C product, we should always design our products/services to be more human or customer centric, so that we will get better products out to market, which will be more better accepted.
We have added a video in our Coursekit Classroom titled “If You Don’t Understand People, You Don’t Understand Business” to further explain today’s lecture.
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