I think it would be a shame if we didn’t focus some of our attention towards what users are actually doing “out there” in the real world. While it’s always fun to track new stuff on its way out of the design studio and onto the retail shelf (think gizmodo.com, Wired Magazine, Core77), it’s equally important to pay attention to what people are actually buying, watching, eating, reading, and talking about.
One of the things we do periodically in our research group is skim various non-design sources as a way of keeping ourselves in touch with users/consumers/the huddled masses/red state morons…call them whatever you will. For us, short of spending quality time in some stranger’s home while sticking a camera in their face, it’s a great way of finding out what’s happening in Wall-Martville.
The following is just a little bit of food for though.
The top 5 selling books of 2004 (source USAToday.com)1. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
2. The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston.
3. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown.
4. The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren.
5. The Five People You Meet in Heaven: A Novel by Mitch Albom.
Top Ten Cable TV Programs - For week of 12/6/04 - 12/12/04 (source nielsenmedia.com)1. NFL Regular Season L (Eagles/Redskins) - 10,413,000
2. 3-Premiere - 7,247,000
3. WWE Entertainment (WWE RAW Zone) - 4,438,000
4. WWE Entertainment (WWE RAW) - 4,323,000
5. Law & Order - 4,249,000
Here’s what I would say are some strong user trends thriving out there in the market.
Old-School Spirituality: Check out the top sellers above. Whether people practice it themselves, or simply like to admire its history and rituals, religion is hot. Also, don’t forget Mel’s little movie from earlier this year.
Macho-Sports: RVs, #3, WWF, Home Depot, Monster Garage…boys (and girls?) must be getting tired of sitting behind a desk. Has anyone been to a Cabela’s superstore lately?
Domestic Arts: Julia and Martha kicked off this trend with home cooking, but now it’s moved on to scrapbooking, knitting, and software-based sewing machines. Are pickling and hand laundry far behind?