Uncharted Waters – Why it’s Important to Design for “Newcomers”
Design professionals must consider various universal design lenses – users on mobile devices, users with physical and cognitive impairments, users with limited technological use – but are we missing an important lens? Just as the designing for accessibility lens makes the experience better for all users, considering “newcomer” needs can improve experiences for all users.
As designers, we rely heavily on users’ mental models formed by their own perceptions and past experiences. But what if an experience is entirely new to them? What if they’re an absolute first-time user – a “newcomer”? Priyama Barua is inspired to champion this lens after learning about the experiences of people who come to the United States for the first time: students, tourists, business people, immigrants, patients, H1B workers, and so on. Imagine the hundreds of new interactions, decisions, and transactions they face each day in shopping, commuting, banking, traveling, going to hospitals, or even visiting amusement parks. How are you designing multi-channel experiences of the future to ensure that you are considering people who might be interacting with services and products for the first time?