Our London office is located in Covent Garden, a place where people from all walks of life cross paths. Tourists visit to see the historic market, shoppers enjoy the plethora of boutiques in the square and music-lovers dress up to go to the Royal Opera House. And we’re in our office looking out on Covent Garden, right alongside the hustle and bustle of this great city.
But what benefit is it to us as a company to be in this busy area? Is it only to have a brilliant place to go out with our colleagues and friends on a Friday after work? Of course, it’s a great place to be, but it’s also an ideal place to watch and learn about people, and that’s our day-to-day business – knowing people.
The situation a person is in, their mood and circumstance, influence their experience of a product and their behaviour and engagement with it.
A person queueing for their morning coffee, surrounded by people in a loud Prêt à Manger, trying to check the time of their next meeting, has an entirely different experience of their mail client than someone at their desk in front a big screen in a quiet office. The tourist who is trying to figure out their way from Covent Garden to the Tower of London has a very different experience of the Tube schedule than someone who is commuting to the office. The music-lover viewing the menu of a nice restaurant on their phone for a pre-show meal experiences it differently than someone who is viewing it to arrange a business meeting.
These circumstances and scenarios that my colleagues and I witness every day when we go to our office are important lessons for us as designers. It’s user experience research in action. Our products don’t just have to be usable in those situations, they have to be just as delightful in the worst-case-scenario as they are in the best-case-scenarios. As a designer, you’re by definition an observer, and these observations we make every day feed our understanding, give us the ability to find solutions to problems and inspire us to create something even better for our clients and their clients.
So, London is not just a great place to be, it’s also a great place of inspiration and a constant source of knowledge for all of us at SCOOP & SPOON.