Working with a group of users is an effective way to make progress on conceptual and detailed design. Such workshops run from 2h to 6h using the Stakeholder Map, Empathy Map, Prioritisation and Experience Map tools. Workshops quickly brings together teams and team members in a creative environment.
At IBM conferences like Innovate, Interconnect and Insight we often get the opportunity to run design labs. These labs can support the design lifecycle we use both at early phases of Understanding, as well as later phases where we Prototype or Evaluate. The example below is from the three design studio labs in 2014 where we researched on the PLE solution.
View the material from Designing User Experience Concepts in Multi-Stream Configuration Management lab at Interconnect 2015.
Sitting down with a client in a 1-1 interview will generate essential research information. Shadowing a user is another way to observe the as-is workflows and pain-points.
I favor a style of dialog using a white-board to capture workflows and artifacts. This benefits my graphical way of thinking and engages the client. The sketches can easily be an overview where pain-points can be identified. What works really well (tagged green), and what do not work that well (tagged orange/red).
Stakeholder maps is a great way to get started with a new group of clients, or a client team. It makes attendees start standing, ideating, talking and telling. It generates a holistic view of the solution space and its stakeholders. It provides a mechanism to discuss and establish priorities and scope.
I use empathy maps to capture the details of Stakeholders and transform them into Personas. An Empathy map captures what a persona Says, Thinks, Feels and Does. Empathy map is a great tool to capture how clients interact with a solution and their expectations. A few examples of Empathy maps below.
Empathy maps becomes the source for persona definitions. I often come across stakeholder that becomes variants of our more general personas. In such cases I document this using “Also know as…”. Its an act of balance in capturing important differences in personas and keep a generalise level to make personas applicable across the solution and across industries.
Sometime we want to generate a bit of interest for personas. This is a cool set of trading cards we created for the Innovate conference using the Product Line Engineering (PLE) personas. These give-aways generate interest and conversations.
I document the personas in detail in our solution requirements tool.
Experience maps is a tool to outline a scenario. It captures the major and minor steps as the personas interact with the solution to achieve an objective. The example below is an experience map from PLE design on the steps to create a global configuration baseline. The experience map was created by the InnerCircle members across multiple industries at the IBM Innovate conference.
Example of Experience Map for an Operator persona managing maintenance of assets in the Natural Resource industry.