Start Great and Iterate

As a practitioner of meditation who is trying to see through the illusion of phenomena as permanent, I've noticed that the aphorism "first thought, best thought" is often a correct statement about the spontaneous wisdom of the present moment.

With product design ... it's different.

As a human-centered designer who doesn't think the first idea is always the best, I'm dedicated to an iterative approach with feedback all along the way. We are trying to make products that fit into people's lives, rather than making them change their lives for us.

For the ImpairmentStudio product, here are four of the things we kept in mind that helped us reap the benefits of the human-centered design approach.

  1. Starting with the right conceptual model is the underpinning of a relatable and usable design. Once we found a conceptual model with up-front research, we kept it as the heart of the primary use case - analyzing loan data to calculate the allowance, which drives the reserve that banks hold onto to responsibly cover loan risk.
  2. Smart defaults and behaviors overcome the false belief that it is better to give users every option - even irrational ones - than to do the hard work ourselves to understand what covers the 80% case.
  3. Reusable & recognizable patterns is a no-brainer in theory, but requires us to stay vigilant when implementing new features. Otherwise, we are being creative in an unhelpful way, unnecessarily showing off our ideas for "better" ways to do things when standard ways not only work fine, but are expected.
  4. Prioritizing avoidance of errors over recovery from them is expected, even thought it can be difficult. It's always easier to kick the can down the road to validate inputs at execution rather than catching them in the first place, but our design research with real users shows that this is not a very impressive approach for users who are used to computer systems being smarter than that.

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