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Adaptive Products: Designing for Evolution rough Use - page 24 / 31





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l a y e r s o f a p r o d u c t . N o r m a l l y p r o d u c t s s t a r t o f f r o u g h l y m e e t i n g a p e r s o n needs and are only adapted as situations change. Accordingly most adaptation is a made up of single-loop maintenance-like modi ications, and these are the changes that designers can best provide for. But lead users and double-loop changes are worth paying attention to because “products lead users develop often form the basis for [future] commercial products.”43 Unique and extreme needs today can point to the future needs of many. s

Because they are on the early edge of the adoption curve, lessons learned from watching lead users can feed into scenario planning but designers can also learn from observing single-loop adaptations. Small changes, in the aggregate, can say something important about the default version of a product. Consider that some layers in a product, like Stuff and Space Plan, will be changed rapidly to meet individual user preferences. If a designer observes that a large percentage of people are making similar changes to a product it may indicate that the default design is undesirable. For example, imagine a photo sharing website that by default showed the latest photos you have taken on the homepage, but allowed you to change it to show your friend’s photos instead. If designers notice that most people have changed the product in this way they could adjust the default layout so that friend’s photos are shown first. Designers can continually work on the “of icial” version of a product, improving it over time by watching how it is used. In this way the design process does not have to end when a product is released and evolution can happen through collective as well as individual involvement.

Designers can learn a lot from watching people make changes to products but individuals can also learn from each other. “Informal user-to- user cooperation, such as assisting others to innovate, is common. Organized


Von Hippel, 23.

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