Ask a Kid: 5 Insights on Human-Centered Experience

Posted by Owen Matson, Ph.D. on March 24
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WHAT CHILDREN CAN TEACH US ABOUT DESIGNING HUMAN-CENTERED EXPERIENCE

A recent article on "Designing a Human-Centered Pediatric Experience" draws on opinions and insights from children to develop guidelines for optimal pediatric care.  The article is not only useful; more importantly, it's moving.  Coming from outside the profession of healthcare design, the article represents a model of effective content: It speaks to professional protocols in terms of common emotional needs.  It's 5 key points focus on issues specific to hospital facilities management, but the inights resonate on a much broader level:

  1. KIDS AND PARENTS CRAVE TIME OPTIMIZATION.
  2. CHALLENGES PLAGUE PARENTS AT MANY NON-CLINICAL STEPS.
  3. KIDS AND PARENTS WANT TO BE TREATED LIKE FAMILY AND EXPERTS.
  4. WE ALL YEARN TO BELONG.
  5. DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES BENEFIT FROM DISTRACTION AND ESCAPE.

I've tanslated the above insights into terms relevant to marketing:

1. KIDS AND PARENTS CRAVE TIME OPTIMIZATION.

In other words, use your audience's time tisely: Remember when you were in school and were forced to learn about topics that seemed completely meaningless and irrelevant to your life?  Did you watch the clock and not learn anything?  The best teachers present lessons in a way that makes material relevant.  And when information feel relevant, when it speaks to and answers needs, time disappears.  Your audience needs to perceive your content as necessary.  Otherwise, you're wasting their time.  

2. CHALLENGES PLAGUE PARENTS AT MANY NON-CLINICAL STEPS.

In other words, make things easy: Making things ‘easier’ is, well, easier said than done. Start by putting yourself in the place of others: Walk your personas through interactions, space, and digital platforms. When we talk about user experience (UX), in digital marketing we are referring to the totality of visitors’ experience with your site—more than just how it looks, UX includes how easy your site is to use, how fast it is, and how little friction there is when visitors try to complete whatever action it is they’re there to completeKIDS AND

3. PARENTS WANT TO BE TREATED LIKE FAMILY AND EXPERTS.

In other words, treat others as you would be prefer to be treated--a habit that requires empathy.  Incorporating empathy into every interaction, for every unique user, implies that no moment is an afterthought.  Produce content that demonstrates your understanding and genuine concern for your audience.   And consider the following tips:

  • Readers appreciate difficult honesty--when you’re vulnerable, i.e., reveal weaknesses, flaws, past failures, etc.
  • Readers trust when your language is authentic.  Readers feel understood when your words emotionally connect with them.

4. WE ALL YEARN TO BELONG.

In other words, we all yearn to belong! Brands do not simply announce products; they gather communities.  Like the logo for a sports team, brands have appeal to a particular group identity group--be it moms, children, cyclists, car enthusiasts, etc. When your messaging triggers a particular group or social identity, customers begin to align with your brand for a sense of belonging and connectedness. And with this sense of belonging, comes community.

5. DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES BENEFIT FROM DISTRACTION AND ESCAPE.

In other words, entertain, delight, surprise, and/or personalize whenever and wherever you can: Simply put, life isn't easy.  Content should provide an opportunity to escape daily anxities.  Make content fun. Fun content need not necessarily mean funny.  It can also invite readers into problem-solving. Consider content that asks us how to solve a riddle or offer an opinion.  Engage curiosity.  We all want to know whether we have the correct answer to a problem.

The article's most impressive insight, however, does not make the above list.  The final paragraph ends with a nod to the value of the feedback they received from children:

Sometimes it takes a kid’s unabashed perspective to help us see the obvious. We found kids engaged through our work to be direct, insightful, and imaginative in their approach to problem finding and problem solving. In fact, we believe kids’ healthcare insights could go a long way toward improving adult patient experiences too. How might you engage kids to help you solve your biggest problems?

Marketers can learn much from this example.  Listening to audiences takes time, but taking that time speaks to the soul of marketing: Communicating information that meets the needs of clients.  

To read the article that inspired this post, "5 insights for designing a human-centered pediatric experience," visit MarketScale's industry news sites for Healthcare and Healthcare Design and Engineering.  For more on effective B2B marketing, check our blog. Or download our B2B Marketing Playbook. 

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Topics: Content, Business Communication, Thought Leadership, B2B Marketing, B2B Content, Content Strategy, Healthcare Industry, Healthcare Design and Engineering

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