An interview with Kim Goodwin

About Kim Goodwin

Kim Goodwin is the author of the bestselling book, Designing for the Digital Age. Kim is currently consulting for clients in varied industries including aviation, consumer electronics, and retail. She spent most of the last decade as Vice-President, Design and General Manager at Cooper, leading an integrated practice of interaction, visual, and industrial designers and the development of the acclaimed Cooper U design curriculum. Kim has led projects involving a tremendous range of design problems, including web sites, complex analytical and enterprise applications, phones, medical devices, services, and even organizations. Her clients and employers have included everything from one-man startups to the world’s largest companies, as well as universities and government agencies. This range of experience and a passion for teaching have led to Kim’s popularity as an author and as a speaker at conferences and companies around the world.


Main points

  • By the time people call me, they are pretty sold on the idea of research.
  • I’m not sure you can sell research. Rather, you need to sneak it inside.
  • The key is getting people exposure to research and users as early as you can.
  • My way of pitching research is by positioning it as a risk management tool that reduces the amount of time you spend going down blind alleys. It is also a useful product definition tool which reduces opinion-based arguments about design. Lastly, asking stakeholders questions you would ask users also help make the case for research.
  • It is not deadly if sometimes you do not conduct research. Riskier, but not deadly.
  • Engage a lot with product managers and executives. Get involved.
  • Demonstrate value first, then take initiative with research you are not asked to do.
  • Personas and scenarios help make the visible connection between research and design.
  • Your goal with deliverables is making something that would help stakeholders reach the same conclusions as you did rather than their own.
  • Make your research actionable.
  • When stakeholders budget for more research, that’s a sign for you they are bought into it.
  • Think about your key stakeholders and your communication with them. Think of it as a design problem.