Categories
Design Research Strategy

Resource list

Strategy

Collaboration

Reflecting on work

  • https://www.manager-tools.com An incredibly rich source of career and management advice vitamins. The podcast series on how to write your resume is both instructive and hilarious.
  • https://www.bobsutton.net/articles Bob Sutton is the Professor of Management Science at the Stanford Engineering School and author of The No Asshole Rule and Good Boss Bad Boss. His writing on organisations is evidence-based so the next time some fad comes your way, check-in with Bob’s articles and blog.

Research

Design practice

Remote research

Technology opinion

Human directory

  • https://alltop.com/ Directories crafted and curated by actual humans used to be a big thing, and was a reason why Yahoo! was a thing before Google. While they may seem anachronistic compared to search they can uncover gold hard to find in your personalised search echo chamber.

For design and product inspiration and curiosities

Tools

Do you have a trusty go-to resource? Let me know what it is in the comments.

Categories
Design

Learning through making

Earlier in the year I had the good fortune of presenting to a class from the University of Technology, Sydney’s Interaction Design course. As someone who occasionally hires designers, experience in user testing and a sincere integration of users in the design process is what makes candidates stand out. Why? Because this is what reduces errors, minimizes IT and build change requests and helps ensure users can understand and use our products. It’s a mistake to think something has to be detailed and almost production-ready to be tested. Test ideas, test sketches, test digital, test services. Test early, iteratively and often.

Categories
Service design

How long does a journey take to make?

This week a colleague rushed up asking how long it would take to produce a journey map and the answer was … it depends.

But first, what is a journey map?

journey-slider

A journey map is a model of a person’s experience over time with an organisation. They can describe a service experience of an existing customer, such as a support call or they can describe the sales experience of a new customer. The latter usually conforming to some version or other of the purchasing funnel. For the purposes of this post I am discussing current-state and not future-state journey maps.

Who and what is represented in journey maps?

A journey map can be the story of a specific persona or it can depict the generalised experience of all customers. Adaptive Path makes this distinction and labels the former a customer journey map, and the later an experience map.

Then there is the “stage” to consider. The front-stage shows the customer experience and the back-stage presents the corresponding experience of the organisation – the teams, systems and processes that combine to deliver the experience. This kind of journey is usually described as a service blueprint.

So … how long does a journey take to make?

To plan resources, people, and effort you need to think about the content and the data that’s informing it. This can come from internal workshops, co-design sessions, or through customer and staff research.

Guidelines for planning

Resourcing guidelines for journey mapping approaches
Activity Inputs Who you’ll need Time Considerations Cost Trade-off
Quick Workshop Anecdotal knowledge Subject matter experts, product owners, front line staff as proxies for customers. 1-2 facilitators. Half-day
  • Usually output as high-level post-it notes.
  • Add 2 days to make a legible and shareable electronic or print deliverable.
$ Minimal time and cost but no first-hand customer data.
Workshop Existing researchVoice of customer data Subject matter experts, staff, product owners. 1-2  facilitators. 1-2 weeks
  • Invest time in sourcing past research reports.
  • Voice of customer data from different sources needs time to collate into a consistent form for comparison and analysis.
  • No data of external factors (personal network, competitors) and just interactions with your organisation makes for a one-sided story. Customers are more motivated to give feedback when something has gone wrong; the resulting journey may be disproportionately negative and may miss all the positive forces that made them customers in the first place.
$$ Minimal time and cost. Depending on quality of research and data journey can be fragmented with no context for wider story or experience.
Journey co-design workshops Recounted experience. Example touch points. Customers who have recently or are currently going through the experience.One facilitator, one note taker. 2-5 weeks
  • 1-2 weeks to recruit participants.Approximately 1-2 weeks of co-design workshops.
  • Allow more time if your segmentation requires more participants to get a representative sample.Time to synthesise what you learn into insights and onto the journey itself. 3 days – 1 week.You may opt to run modified Delphi sessions where each subsequent co-design session builds on and edits the previous one–so you are essentially always working on the one map.Add 3-5 days to make a legible and shareable electronic or print deliverable.
$$$ Customer data represented but highly dependent on recall. Detail of real time customer experience e.g. with a specific touchpoint or episode may be lost.
JTBD switch interviews with customers Recounted experience. Customers who have very recently switched to your product or away you’re your product to a competitor.
One researcher. Note taker optional.
3-5 weeks
  • 1-2 weeks to recruit participants.
  • Allow more time in recruitment to get the exact customers you need.1-2 weeks of research depending on the number of participants in your study. Synthesis is streamlined with JTBD Four Forces diagram and customer timelines.Great research technique to support agile teams in iterative rounds of discovery or development. Applicable to a buying journey only.
$$$ Customer data represented but dependent on recall. Skilled interviewer should be able to elicit detail of real time customer experience of a specific touchpoint or episode.
Contextual interviews and/or longitudinal diary studies with customers Recounted or directly observed experience.Qualitative insights.Can dig deep into quite low level detail and describe context of use of example touch points. Customers who have recently or are currently going through the experience.
A representative sample for each customer segment.
A team of researchers. 2-4 depending on the number of customers.
8-12 weeks
  • Worthy investment for strategic projects
  • Resource intensive approach to follow-up with participants.
  • Compelling when paired with quantitative research to size findings.
$$$$$ Requires large investment and results are not actionable for some time but end result is credible research report usable by both executive and operational teams.

Conclusion

As with anything, there are trade offs involved. A well researched and high detailed journey will certainly stand the test of time, be useful to multiple audiences, and be a persuasive research piece to support change. It all depends on your project needs and constraints. The 80/20 rule may also apply—making smaller investments with Jobs-to-be-Done research or co-design workshops may yield most of the major insights you need to uncover for significantly less cost and time.

[hr]

Update:
I have made a some updates since first publishing this post. Thanks to Krispian Emert for your valuable feeback.

Categories
The Work Experience

Does brainstorning encourage laziness?

A provocation from HBR…

but I agree with this user…it all depends on how you design your group session

@HarvardBiz Not a waste of time if you use a brainstorming framework & formal methodology! Generalizations like this are dangerous.

— Alexandra Fiorillo(@alexfiorillo) March 27, 2015

Categories
The Work Experience

Go Home!

The Australia Institute celebrates Go Home on Time Day today November 19. This is certainly something that my partner would hope that I take part in.

Their report has found that:

“The average full-time worker is doing six hours of unpaid overtime each week worth an estimated $9471 a year…”

Ouch. For more information, or to sign up go to http://www.gohomeontimeday.org.au/

Categories
Design Research

An entire design approach laid out

There are some  great UX/UCD resources online — my favourites to date have been Service Design Tools and more recently UX Mastery. But today I was knocked out by the phenomenal effort to define and encapsulate design research activities in a cohesive project framework. It was all revealed by a rather innocuous tweet that did not quite foretell the brilliance ahead.

"Produced by CFC Medialab as part of the IdeaBoost Accelerator in conjunction with Professor Suzanne Stein of OCAD University."
“Produced by CFC Medialab as part of the IdeaBoost Accelerator in conjunction with Professor Suzanne Stein of OCAD University.”

 

The CFC Medialab in conjunction with Professor Suzanne Stein of OCAD University have produced a comprehensive user research and design resource for the UCD community. Unsurprisingly hundreds of people were involved in the creation of this repository. Go check it out: http://designresearchtechniques.com/#/