Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Why We Prefer Customer-Centered Design

One way to explain the value of customer-centered design is to compare it to other design styles. In this section we look at four styles centering in turn on the user, the company, technology, and the designer.

User-Centered Design · Customer-centered design is most closely related to what is known as user-centered design, an effort pioneered in the 1980s for engineering useful and usable computer systems. Customer-centered design builds on user-centered design, adding concerns that go beyond ease of use and satisfaction. In particular, it also focuses on the fusion of marketing issues with usability issues.

On the Web it is much easier to get an audience than by traditional means, but you also want to convert Web site visitors to customers and then keep them coming back. Unlike someone selling shrink-wrapped software to a customer who buys before using it, you want to convince Web site visitors to become customers and make their first use enjoyable—all at the same time. Pay special attention to business goals, marketing goals, usability goals, and customer experience goals. These goals often conflict with each other, and you will be able to find a balance among them only if you are aware of them all at once. These issues are much more intertwined and harder to design for on the Web than for shrink-wrapped software.

Company-Centered Design · A style that used to be quite popular among Fortune 500 companies is what we call company-centered design. Here the needs and interests of the company dominate the structure and content of the Web site. The fatal flaw is that what companies think should be on a Web site is not necessarily what customers need or want. You have probably seen Web sites that are organized by internal corporate structure, with sparse information about the products and services they offer. These kinds of sites are derisively termed brochureware. They contain little useful information and completely ignore the unique capabilities of the Web as a medium. Brochureware sites are acceptable only if they are a short-term first step toward more sophisticated and more useful sites.

Another example of company-centered design is the use of jargon known only to those in the business. One of our friends recently wanted to buy a digital camera. As an amateur, he wanted a camera that was easy to use, one that would help him take clear pictures. But instead, most of the sites bombarded him with terms like CCDs, FireWire, PC card slots, and uncompressed TIFF mode. The fact that he didn't know what these terms meant embarrassed him. He was put off and confused. The companies had made the wrong assumption about their customers' knowledge. None of them answered the simple question of which camera was best for amateurs. This is an example of why company-centered design is almost always a bad style.

Top Ten Signs That Things Are Going Badly

  1. "Our Web site is intuitive and user-friendly."

  2. "We need to start doing some usability tests before our launch next month."

  3. "We can use [XML / SOAP / insert other buzzword technology] to fix that."

  4. "If you stop and think about how the interface works for a second, it makes complete sense."

  5. "How can our customers be so stupid? It's so obvious!"

  6. "Well, they should RTFM!"1

  7. "We don't need to do any user testing. I'm a user, and I find it easy to use."

  8. "We'll just put an 'Under Construction' sign there."

  9. "Shrink the fonts more so that we can put more content at the top."

  10. "We need a splash screen."

Technology-Centered Design · Sites constructed on the basis of technology-centered design are often built with little up-front research about business needs and customer needs—just a lot of hacking and caffeine. We have all seen these kinds of Web sites—the ones overloaded with animation, audio, and streaming banners. The problem with this approach is that it often results in amateurish Web sites that are not useful, usable, or desirable. Technology-centered Web sites were pervasive in the early days of the Web, but thankfully they are becoming less common as the Web matures.

Designer-Centered Design · Designer-centered design (also known as ego-centered design) is still popular in certain circles. One designer was quoted in a popular industry rag as saying, "What the client sometimes doesn't understand is the less they talk to us, the better it is. We know what's best." This is exactly what we mean.

Don't get us wrong, though. Some design teams have deep-seated creative urges that are matched only by their incredible technical ability. They can create sites that are cool, edgy, and loaded with the latest technologies. In some cases, this is exactly the image a company wants to project. Unfortunately, these kinds of sites can also be slow to download, as well as hard to use, and they may not work in all Web browsers. Designer-centered design is fine for some art Web sites, but not for e-commerce or informational sites whose livelihood depends on a large number of repeat visitors.

In company-centered design, designers give no thought to why people would visit the company's Web site and what they would want to do there. In technology-centered design, technology is an end rather than a means of accomplishing an end. In designer-centered design, the needs of other people are placed beneath the creative and expressive needs of the design team. Contrast these styles with customer-centered design, which emphasizes customers and their tasks above all, and sees technology as a tool that can empower people.

Company-centered, technology-centered, and designer-centered design styles were understandable in the early days of the Web when designers were still finding their way. In the old worldview, few people really considered what customers wanted. Now, successful and easy-to-use sites like amazon.com, yahoo.com, and ebay.com are designed from the ground up to meet the needs of their customers. In the new worldview, your careful consideration of customers, as reflected in your Web site, will help you achieve long-lasting success.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020