My latest exploration into design research and process theory took me down a very deep academic rabbit hole - only to discover that much of the recent research into the psychology of need, want, and motivation has very practical, everyday implications for design. In my most recent article, The Nuance of Need: Mapping User Needs Through the Design Process, I revisit the timeless theme of understanding human need and reexamine how we can better identify and evaluate particular aspects of need throughout product development. I share my insights for how to better define need when discussing user experience moderated by technology, and how a 3-tiered model of goal categorization (developed by the prolific duo, Carver and Scheier) can help us effectively categorize and focus on specific types of need throughout the various phases of design. Ultimately, and contrary to the belief of many that I spoke to for this article, I share my thoughts for why, sometimes, the design solution drives user needs and goals. Sometimes. The reality, as I hope you'll read in the full article, depends largely on the type of goal to be fulfilled.

You can read the full article, and my thoughts for future research, on the IDSA website: LINK. The paper will also be published in the Winter 2022 publication of INNOVATION magazine.