An Unobstructed View of Customer Requirements

October 13, 2023

Seeing Good Design in Everyday Life

Recently I ran across the sign below, which I first wrote about back in 2009. It’s located in a parking garage in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and provides directions to an eye clinic. This sign couldn’t have been larger – to the point of being humorous. Imagine: the designer actually understood that customers of the eye center might not be able to see very well!

An Unobstructed View of Customer Requirements - eye center sign

I’m still struck by the brilliance of the design thinking because it exemplifies such profound knowledge of the customer. It’s a simple example, built on empathy, which is why it’s such a powerful example of simplicity in good design. Customer empathy doesn’t need to be complicated; it’s more a result of simple awareness and openness than complex tools.

If only every design project could be so tightly linked to customer requirements! – contrast the eye center experience with another recent example from the wild – a sign that I encountered in a hotel.

An Unobstructed View of Customer Requirements - Ice photo

Which way to the ice?

There are lots of great tools to enable process design excellence, and there are certainly process design challenges that require more complex tools, like virtual process modeling, but the most important tools are paying attention and thinking.

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