by Dan Licht (@thedvl)
Have you ever eaten in a restaurant where you can see the kitchen? Better yet, have you eaten in a restaurant that’s design revolves around you being able watch how your food is prepared? Ever seen the origin of that yummy grass-fed steak on the menu, or the dairy your yummy Humboldt fog comes from? This is a trend these days what with the whole slow food, know-where-it-grows movements. And people seem keen to know where their food is coming from and how it is being prepared. Now, you are probably wondering what the hell this all has to do with design? Well I’m here to say we should be starting our own, slow-design know-where-it’s-designed movement … who’s with me?
This idea started a few months ago while reading an issue of Monocle Magazine. There was an article about the aforementioned movement in restaurant design to showcase where the ingredients come from and how they are cooked. Combine this with our love of the exploration process of sketching and brainstorming as discussed (amazingly well I might add) here and you have a wonderful story for clients…
Or do you?
Yes. You do. At least, we think we do. You see, going back to the analogy of knowing where your yummy grass fed porterhouse came from or in what dairy that creamy Humboldt fog was crafted, we think that clients want to know where their yummy, creamy awesome UX is coming from. Strike that, clients must know where it comes from. It welcomes them into our world. It makes them better clients. By being transparent we can be more open and honest about what the client is getting and, more importantly, how we are getting them to that point.
When we start a project it is usually ignited by our (pun 100% intended) SPARK session. This is the first chance for the client to come into the fold, so-to-speak. We make them one with our team for the discovery phase. Everyone participates and in many ways this lets them know what our team is thinking, and vice-versa. With many agencies this type of meeting is the end to that level of client immersion, or time spent behind the curtain.
I challenge if that’s the best way.
We have been, for some time now, documenting much of our process and work in video format. This is a really great way to show clients how we came to the conclusions, judgment and recommendations we have for them. It also shows them it’s not as easy or simple as they think. And that’s not a trivial thing.
Think about that restaurant again. If they use an open design and showcase their kitchen as a centerpiece, they are complicating things and increasing their investment in your experience. They have to have it spic and span (which is expected in a closed kitchen, but trust me … not always done). Their chefs must be in order, and professional as well. But, you will accept and welcome all of this for the knowledge of where and how your food is prepared.
Don’t your clients deserve the freshest ideas, most natural UX, and the knowledge that their app/site/game is being handled by professionals who value collaboration?
Don’t be afraid to show them.