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What is Naive Design?

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Naive design is a design failure that results when a design team don't use their own product.

Obvious Improvements That Never Get Fixed

Naive designs often include faults or opportunities for improvement that most customers notice but designers miss. In theory, customer feedback may eventually drive such improvements but this is a messy and slow process.
Consider the design of a baby stroller. A team may sit in a room and think about convenient features for parents that results in a product that is shipped without anyone on the design team taking it to a park with a child. The first fathers, mothers and grandparents to use the baby stroller immediately notice inconvenient features that result from real world conditions such as managing the stroller in a crowded location. Reviews are poor and it takes the design team months to respond with fixes. Meanwhile they have damaged their brand reputation and incurred costs due to a slow selling product.

The Outsiders Who Tried To Lead

A more serious variant of naive design is when a design team are outsiders amongst customers. For example, a design team that designs surfboards who have never met a surfer. Design is a form of leadership and designers who struggle the same struggle as your customers are most likely to be able to lead.
Overview: Naive Design
A design that fails because its design team doesn't use their own product.
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