Sunday, June 30, 2019

How to come up with creative ideas: Think user-experience first and then the technology

I recently started sharing my scribbles on How to come up with creative ideas. To reiterate, my idea in sharing these is to look back at this list for my own inspiration and for those who are interested.

On my road journey back from Patras to Athens, I started reading  the book- Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs

One of the stories in this book caught my attention. Let me recreate the excerpt from the story below (with full credit to the author: Ken Kocienda)
Throughout the development of the iPhone, we referred to the keyboard, often quite nervously, as a "science project." When we started developing our touchscreen operating system, we didn't know if typing on a small touch-sensitive sheet of glass was technologically feasible or a fool's errand. As commonplace as virtual keyboards have become, in those days, the norm for smartphones was the BlackBerry, with its built-in hardware key board, its plastic chiclet keys, and its tactile thumb-typing. In contrast, the iPhone keyboard would offer tiny virtual keys that gave no feedback you could feel with your fingers.
Ken Kocienda was involved in developing the first ever touchscreen keyboard for iPhones and later for iPad. But this was something that intrigued me as much as the highlighted part above.

When Ken and his team started developing the touchscreen keyboard, the most popular way of keying into mobile phones was the physical keyboard. When they started working on touch-sensitive keyboard, they weren't sure of technological feasibility. I know i am assuming things when i say this but one of the reasons why they picked up a problem for which they didn't have technical solution is that they thought of user-experience first.

From what i have read and believe in, Steve Jobs always believed in starting from user-experience first and then let technology follow to determine the best solution. In the early iPhone era, Blackberry was still popular in enterprises and people loved it's ergonomic keyboard. Being a visionary as Steve Jobs was, he imagined users will get a better experience if they switch to touch-screen keyboard as it will allow for bigger screen to be created.

To summarize, one source for coming up with creative ideas is to think of user's pain-points to be solved first, articulate it and then think of technical solutions.

More on this soon, till then try and apply this thinking and let me know how it goes.

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