Wednesday, November 29, 2006

From Data to Wisdom: An Interview with Paco Underhill

Website design insight by watching people ...

"Six years ago, Paco Underhill established himself to the then-adolescent community of web designers as a thought leader in user research and analysis with his seminal book, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. As we approach the holiday shopping season, Boxes and Arrows talks with Underhill about what’s changed about behavior research since then, the science of watching people, and new considerations for the design community.

Liz Danzico: Can you talk about what your firm, Envirosell, does and how it has a direct influence on the design of experiences?

Paco Underhill: We’re concerned with the point where people, products, communication, and spaces all meet. And at that point, we interact with the design world at all levels—whether it’s store planning, whether it’s designing websites, or whether it’s working with firms that specialize in wayfinding, packaging, or consumer graphics.

My primary job is chief executive officer of the principle testing agency for prototype stores and prototype bank branches across the world. Of the world’s 50 largest merchants, [our firm] works with roughly half of them, and last year, in 26 countries across the globe.

I tend to associate you and your company with shopping because of the books you’ve written that have so influenced us as designers, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping and The Call of the Mall: The Geography of Shopping. How large a role does shopping research play in what you do?

Well, we are not specialists in e-commerce, but we do work for our bricks-and-mortar merchants who have online presences. I also do consulting work for software companies that are developing or refining products to service online products."    (Continued via Boxes and Arrows)    [Usability Resources]


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