Product Design

Macchiato No. 49 // A shot of UX with a dollop of graphic design


  • My friend and teammate, Jesse Prehodick, offered this bit of advice in the **Macchiato No. 39 **extra shot, “Know your users: Don’t design what you want because you aren’t the user.” I heard it again recently from Jakob Nielsen: “You are not the user.” After delivering his keynote address at the UX Conference in London, Nielsen was asked “Why is it that [some] designers get it so wrong?” Listen to Nielsen’s response in this 2-minute clip.
  • Can You Feel Me Now? Accessible Experiments in Empathy explores techniques designers can use to develop empathy. Katy Mogal, Fitbit’s Director of Design Research and UX Research, makes the case that all of us can find ways to empathize with our users and discusses why it matters.
  • I went to the hospital this past week for a diagnostic medical imaging appointment. Looking around the space, I appreciated the use of color in the rooms and felt comforted. Finding the right colors to use in a healthcare environment can be difficult because of cultural pluralism and complexity of communication. Beyond color, however, we can still try to improve the patient experience by incorporating design thinking and design principles into the planning process and design of hospitals: How Design Thinking Turned One Hospital into a Bright and Comforting Place.
  • The previous links (especially the latter) carry a similar core message: to design products, applications, and experiences with users in mind. They reminded me of a project led by Doug Dietz, an industrial designer and GE Healthcare’s Innovation Architect. The goal of Dietz’s project was to figure out how to create a scanner experience children would love in order to alleviate their fear at the prospect of laying down inside noisy medical imaging equipment. By designing products with families and the patient journey in mind first, GE transformed the radiology and imaging departments at 27 children’s hospitals into immersive adventures for kids and their caregivers.
  • Sadly, I’m around migraine sufferers—two of whom are very close to me. I sometimes wonder what a migraine feels like to them. Virtual reality has been acclaimed as an empathy machine for its ability to help us experience a world that differs from our own. Excedrin has developed a migraine simulator to help others gain empathy for those who suffer from migraines. What other unpleasant experiences might we all better understand through virtual reality simulations?


  • When creating art or viewing art conceived by others, I’m in the present more than any other moment in my life. The world stops in its tracks and I lose myself and find myself at the same time. Pablo Picasso so well articulated this feeling: “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” When you ponder how that can be applied to tough moments in our own lives, it’s comforting to read hospitals are placing high priority on artwork these days: More Hospitals Use the Healing Powers of Public Art.
  • Creative activities can have a significantly uplifting impact on your mood. I cordially invite you to design, draw, write, or dance! You’ll feel better after a creative outburst according to **this study **found in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Extra Shot

from the WT UX Team
  • When thinking about user experience in healthcare, it’s important to remember the edge cases. Those could be the most important moment in that user’s life, even though it’s not the highest performing feature based on analytics. –@matthewphewes


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