Research: User Journeys & Pretotypes

Research: User Journeys & Pretotypes

(6min read)

How we are building this

Method Agnostics

It all started with a pain we felt. After trainings, participants can not easily see where and how they can apply their new learned skills and the new mindset of teamwork, in the projects and processes they are involved in. We want to do something about this. Our goal was to research, to dig deeper into the heaviest pain points in their journey of bringing another way of working to their company.

First we felt the need to research our assumptions. We recruited contacts from our network, people we have worked with before that know and practice Design Thinking and have been challenged with the task of implementing it in a larger organizational context. We scheduled 3 calls with innovation managers and Design Thinking practitioners from different companies. All 3 are familiar with Design Thinking and have been trained to apply it in their companies.

User Journeys

Digging deep but with an overview

In order to mark down meaningful questions for our inquiry, we started by making sense and structuring our experiences. We used the knowledge we had by mapping out a user journey of a innovation manager that wants to be trained in Design Thinking and consequently want to bring this methodology into his company.

We wanted to have a holistic but meta view on the whole process, so we chose 7 steps from the first wish for DT training to having a community of practice inside the company. To not overcomplicate it we just used three categories for these steps: Pain points, pain-relievers and cherries on top. We ended up not using the cherries. Our knowledge was not deep enough to think about surprising, unexpected and delightful elements of our service. We did not map out our service but the status quo of this people because we are in the research phase, still exploring the problem. We have a very high level of how a solution could look like but we don’t know yet the basic requirements expected by the user, so how can we think about unexpected?

See, user journeys can be used in different contexts, in various phases to achieve different goals. This time we used it to dig deeper into a problem and distill research questions. Other times, user journeys are a good way to make sense out of insights or frame a POV. There is no right way, use the methods how they make sense, not how it is written in one book!
, Research: User Journeys & Pretotypes
This is how our user journey looked like

Pretotypes: Prototypes for Research

When we started making our way through the journey ideas kept popping up, how to solve this, how to relieve that pain etc. so we decided to write them down on the bottom. In the next step we prototyped these ideas to use them as Pretotypes in our user research. This will enable us to have a focused conversations with our interviewees that go deep quickly.

But Pretotypes also come with a risk: we can feel comfortable with our assumptions. Prototypes are great for opening a conversation, conveying an idea very fast and to the point and keeping the conversation focused. Our Pretotype is a concept, basically a landing page which describes the service and its benefits shortly. So, why do we have to be careful? Because we are already falling in love with our idea and the questions for the verification of the pain points are rather narrow. Too much on the validation side. Yes, we want to verify the assumptions of our solution, but this is also research, so we have to remind ourselves to open up the conversation for different stories and experiences of our users, to not head down like a racehorse with blinders down the only track we can think right now of.

Next up: Research Interviews and Pretotype Testing

Again! We are using prototypes for research. Because: why not! 1. We covered the basic research through our experience, so we knew we had something there but wanted to dig deeper fast. 2. We wanted to avert the risk when talking too abstract with the user. In this higher conversational level people mostly agree — especially corporate types. People have different understanding of words, e.g. „training“ or „support“. The fact that prototypes are concrete and tangible allows the user to better understand and imagine what you mean. When you show them an example of how it could look like, it is easier to not agree. And this is what you want! Prototypes are great for communicating an idea that should be challenged
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