I have been doing usability study & analysis over a decade now, and every time I get into new assignment, I learn something new. Recently, I worked for a project for an industry I never had experience before. Industry wasn’t very common either – HNI Goods. It primarily includes hand made luxury soaps, hand stitched shirts costing as high as 20,000 INR per piece, hand crafted shoes and so on.

This segment is highly coveted and developing UX for such industry/business has its own hidden challenges.

I learned following during the process –

  • I cannot begin with standard process of usability study & customer research. I need a highly focused process to cover everything I need for my research work
  • Customers in this segment are highly aware of the product specification
  • Customers perhaps know more about the product/pain areas than you can imagine
  • White-space & digital real-estate has a very high value if used correctly
  • Color palate should be highly minimal so that focus stays on the product
  • 3-Click rule perhaps is outdated for this segment – 1-Click is what makes awesome UX

I discovered above points by making a tons of mistakes, scraping my UX designs for a number of times, building 10 variant of wire-frames for single screen, and in the end I got only ONE chance to talk to customer.

In sum, if you are going to work on a UX project that is in similar segment, do not expect that you will have access to customer. Customer is the king of entire value chain, and you perhaps get just one chance to observe/talk/interview the customer. So, plan your research well in advance, go with a blank slate, and ZERO notions about the industry.

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