Moments of truth

02 Apr 2013 3min read

I was listening to our director of design, Paul Greenhalgh, talking to a client about the way his team separates out the elements of medical devices that cannot change – for regulatory or manufacturing reasons – from those that can.

The reason they design in that way is simple; it allows them more flexibility to create the visual design that will be most attractive and functional to a user. Recognising of course that there are many millions of users out there and they are not all the same. This approach allows our designers to create a look and feel for specific sub-groups: young and old, tired or athletic, hot or not.

Paul talked about designing touchpoints, ways in which people interact with the device or its packaging, and that is a really strong way to think about design. It’s worth contrasting it with the experience that David Robinson was talking about in his blog about unboxing, because I think we have a broader conception of touchpoints than is typical. Paul and David include something else in their concept of a touchpoint, and I realised it is ‘time’.

Or more specifically a moment in time. A touchpoint on its own doesn’t really express the way in which you engage or interact with a thing, and how that experience might mature and develop over those few seconds. Nor does it really express that when you interact with a touchpoint is every bit as, if not more, important than that you interact. Typically the first time you do anything is way more important than the second or subsequent … hmmm!

Anyway, it made me think about work I did with P&G years ago. They have this delightful notion of “moments of truth”. The first is when you see Olay on the shelf and you make that purchase decision. The second is when you get it home and unbox it, the moment that David was talking about and which is clearly massively important to people. The third was first use … and I’m sure there were others.

I like this notion better and I think it could be helpful to us as we seek to optimise all of the interactions that people have with the things we design – focusing our attention on those moments that really matter to people.

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