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Hardcover Subject to Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World: Adaptive Path on Design Book

ISBN: 0596516835

ISBN13: 9780596516833

Subject to Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World: Adaptive Path on Design

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Book Overview

To achieve success in today's ever-changing and unpredictable markets, competitive businesses need to rethink and reframe their strategies across the board. Instead of approaching new product development from the inside out, companies have to begin by looking at the process from the outside in, beginning with the customer experience. It's a new way of thinking-and working-that can transform companies struggling to adapt to today's environment into...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A great intro to empathy-driven design and developing an experience strategy for your products/servi

If you're not already familiar with design thinking and research, this is a great intro to empathy-driven design and developing an experience strategy for your products/services. Even if you are, it's still a good refresher--though it doesn't offer a lot of depth or insight into Adaptive Path's unique approach. Recommended.

Provides basics for designing products for web software and competitive advantage alike

SUBJECT TO CHANGE: CREATING GREAT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FOR AN UNCERTAIN WORLD provides basics for designing products for web software and competitive advantage alike - but to limit it to computer collections would be a shame. It's the college-level or public library collection specializing in innovative business solutions who will find it a powerful discussion of strategy and futuristic thinking processes, packed with real-world examples. Diane C. Donovan California Bookwatch

A good guide for tech savvy Product Managers

Sooner or later, every developer out there gets sick of the long hours, the process, the verification and the deadlines. Even if we've naturally gravitated towards leadership, the clarion call of management is strong- it's perceived as advancement (potentially into a C* role), comes with the benefit of fewer long hours, you have people you can boss around... all in all good things when looked at in the right light. Yet most developers end up in Development Management, which ends up being more about estimates and balancing resources (aka beancounting), rather than Product Management, which continues apace with the thing I love most about being a Developer: Building Stuff. When my User Groups' book shipment from O'Reilly came in with a complementary copy of Adaptive Path's "Subject to Change" I was intrigued. From the title, the book is about "Creating great products and services for an uncertain world". It claimed to be a book book that seemed to be all about how to create and manage a product in the everchanging world of the internet. Now, it turns out that my initial enthusiasm was a little naive, since the argument presented in the book was substantially different than what I was expecting. In fact, one of its chapters is titled `Stop Designing "Products"`, which made me more than a little concerned. Yet having said that, and taking into account the often blatant plugs for Adaptive Path, it turns out the book was exactly what I needed, even though it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. Chapter 1 lays out the foundation of the argument, which is that customers aren't attracted to features, they're attracted to an experience. Note that this does not mean bells and whistles - I can have an experience at a circus, but that's not what I'm looking for in a laptop. Instead, it is critical to look at what your customer is actually trying to accomplish, and to make the experience of accomplishing that task as positive as possible. Layering on feature after feature is good only if the original intended task experience is not compromised, otherwise it simply adds noise to what should be an all-signal experience. In other words, good products are well designed, by which they don't mean pretty, nor that they have an elegant software implementation. Design is instead used in the inclusive sense- all aspects of the product, experience and execution are carefully considered and integrated into one seamless whole. This foundation is then built on in Chapter 2 by presenting the idea that the aforementioned experience is a strategic decision, and then clearly defining what that does and does not mean. Those of you who are trying to achieve some flavor of competitive advantage (aka differentiation aka edge etc etc) should definitely read this chapter, because it provides a long list of clarifications given the context. Quite frankly, the whole thing reads like a snopes article that slowly dismantles many lessons learned in academic marketing classes. My fav

making the business case for user experience design

This book makes the business case for user experience design (UX). It shows how businesses need to think about designing compelling, positive experiences for people, not merely products and services. It is a fine book, and more important, a timely one. Design, the book argues, is a competitive advantage and should be a core organizational competency. In the past this argument was rarely understood. Today, you simply must understand it. This book will help anyone who doesn't understand it yet, who doesn't really get it, and that means most of the business world. It reminded me of The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper. Written a decade ago, Inmates made the business case for interaction design (ID). "Subject to Change" makes a similar case for user experience design (UX; the distinctions between ID and UX and information architecture (IA) are decidedly blurry). I think this book does a better job. For one reason, the scope is broader, more holistic, and more integrated. This kind of perspective couldn't have been introduced a decade ago. Back then, few of us, even the most prescient of us, truly understand how deeply our lives would change once the connections between our digital tools and information artifacts -- the Web, iPods, laptops, blogs, wifi, cell phones, email, wikis, etc -- became sufficiently rich, pervasive, and continuous. This picture is becoming more clear every day. "Subject to Change" synthesizes the design-thinking approach that has emerged in recent years, reflecting not only changes in technology but also our adoption and uses of technology, and explaining what this means for business. Subject to Change also has a more positive tone than Inmates. From the title on down, Inmates seemed born of frustration and anger. It always struck me as an odd title given the audience. The book was clearly aimed at business, yet the tone seemed aimed at our personal experience of technology. Business people are not, in a business context, angry with technology. They're afraid of it. They don't see a clear path through the digital thicket. "Subject to Change" explains the path offered by experience design. It argues that this approach is both necessary and obvious, and that other paths are insignificant in comparison or no longer offer much of a competitive advantage (though eventually, as with everything in business, once enough people adopt a UX mindset, this advantage will be lessened and the search for new ones will go on). Business is the primary audience for this book. It is not aimed specifically at designers (my sense is that critics of the book are designers who know most of his material already and want more detail than the book seeks to provide). Yet it will also speak to many practitioners in the field, and students as well. I teach IA, ID, and UX in a university graduate program. I routinely encounter students struggling to understand of what

Well-written work on flexibility, innovation, and adaptability

Subject to Change is short, concise, and very well-written. It offers up insights on how companies can be more flexible to meet market changes by working in new ways for solid customer research, product design, and agile approaches, among other things. The book's nicely done and is filled with good examples of how some companies have come up with concepts which completely changed the industry. Kodak's first box camera is an example of a product which fundamentally changed how companies treated their customers. ("You press the button and we do the rest.") Kodak also gets slammed for their ignorant approach to the digital camera age -- failing to adapt to a changing environment isn't a great way to run a business... This same theme runs through the book: approaches that have worked wonders for companies contrasted with flops that haven't. Successful approaches almost always come from businesses which have spent time understanding their customer base; flops come from companies which do silly things like create hardware which is feature-scarce, expense, and hard to use without having ever talked to a customer. I liked most all the chapters and found the ones on design competency and agile particularly interesting. No surprise about me liking the agile chapter since I'm a nut about agile software development! There are also a number of great discussions on brainstorming UIs, layouts, and product prototypes, something which I think gets little or no coverage in other works. Overall it's a good read.
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