Talking Human-Centred Design with Ayotunde Ishola | PICHApodcast

We chat with Ayotunde Ishola, Associate Creative Director at DDB Lagos, about the ins and outs of human-centred design: What is human-centred design? What does the design process entail and what problems can it solve? We’ll tackle these and much more in this episode of the #Afrofeaturism PICHApodcast.

PICHA Stock · PICHApodcast Episode 6 | Talking Human-Centred Design with Ayotunde Ishola

Who is Ayotunde Ishola? Ayo is an extremely dynamic and passionate individual, obsessed with Photography, Art Direction and Creativity generally. Besides winning several Advertising awards and being published in several creative archives, He’s the first and still the only Nigerian photographer who has been published amongst the 200 Best Commercial Photographers worldwide.

His lens has been graced by Aliko Dangote, Herbert Wigwe, Cherie Blair and many other beautiful People. With over 8 years of experience the Associate Creative Director of DDB Lagos has creatively solved problems for a broad range of both local and International brands like MTN, Globacom, Diageo, Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Indomie, Dulux, Exxon Mobil, Arla and Interswitch just to name a few.

What is human centred design?

Your design has to consider the user and the user’s needs and experience above all else. Don’t be carried by the beauty, function or primary objective – the human being has to be at the top of your priority list.

Why is human centred necessary?

We are in a time where people no longer listen or read ads anymore. They listen to stories or they listen to themselves. If you want to say something then you either come as a story or as they would when they talk to themselves. In order to say anything you have to put the person you want to talk to or about into full context. So if you would only listen to stories I would have to consider you before what it is that I want to tell you. Marketing is no longer “this is good, buy it and be better in life”. You need to do better and be more creative about how the message is delivered.

What goes into the human centred design thinking process?

Usually, with design, the only objective is to solve the problem. Most times, the surrounding, the environment, the causes and all of that are not taken into too much consideration. But human centred design has to put the emotion, the feeling, the experience and all the anticipation of the human involved into the design. It is important that you treat the design as an extension of the human experience. There shouldn’t be a division between your real life experience and your design experience. It should be as flawless as possible. We’ve moved on from the time where we had to compartmentalise our experiences. 

Before we learnt about human centred designed, we had a way of doing things – how has it changed the outcome of your work as a creative director?

Before human centred design, there was human designed design but it wasn’t obvious. You just knew it that when you did it this way it was right. That’s why we always had focus groups, testing and all those processes. But now that human centred design is a certified process in problem solving, it has now made us more deliberate about the whole process.

“Sweat the details”. Unless you do this, you cannot be a human centred designer. 

Ayotunde Ishola, Associate Creative Director at DDB Lagos

What makes for a successful human centred designer?

One word: Commitment. You have to be committed. Because the human you are designing for doesn’t necessary know what he or she wants. You have to enter the full psyche to know what they want. My boss’ philosophy is “Sweat the details”. Unless you do this, you cannot be a human centred designer. 

Another reason why commitment is important is because that is the only thing that helps a designer to push his own design boundaries and fully immerse themselves in the project. Empathy is also very important but it can only help to an extent. But the ideal now is going beyond empathy. For example, Apple doing away with the jack. Human centred design knew that the wires were reducing the experience even when people disagreed. They then made a decision that actually enhanced the user experience in the long run. 

What are some of the challenges people face when using the human centred design thinking process?

Because this needs time and commitment it comes with a price. It is not as affordable as it was meant to be.

How do I include human centred design thinking in the work that I do as a photographer, videographer and illustrator?

Research was done a while back – a certain brand took a poll on the amount of likes professional images get vs the amount of likes spontaneous “imperfect” handheld images get. It was shocking to the brand that the professional images got a lot less likes than the flawed images. This is why brands are using images that look less polished when posting on social media. Authenticity and believability are important these days. Humans want to connect with and “like” other humans. The advice I’d give to photographers is to figure out what the objective is for the picture. Not all pictures have to be perfect, smooth skin, super edited, background cropped out, etc. As photographers it is very important to know the objective.

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