Design: Approach the Design Problem
Now that you understand your users’ wants, needs and motivations, you’re ready to define the design approach. Use your findings, personas, user stories and current journey maps to inform each artifact that you create in the design phase. You must be well-informed as you are now setting the design strategy for your project.
You’ll take on three key activities during this stage. First, you will create a set of design guidelines. Once you’ve created your guidelines, you’ll define the future journey. Finally, you’ll spot impacts across channels and touchpoints. At the end of design phase, you’ll have a set of design guidelines, a future journey map, user flows and/or a service design blueprint.
Create the Design Guidelines
Design guidelines support decisions on both scope and design. Your guidelines should be specific enough to provide direction based on real user needs and desires. Avoid broad terms that leave room for creative interpretation. A great set of guidelines will help to set your company apart from the rest.
If you’re working with a team, host a workshop to create these guidelines together. When you work together, you’ll have their support down the road when those tough design calls need to be made.
Either way, you must lift up what sits at the core of the experience you want to create. Your design guidelines must be true in order for the project to be successful.
Here are a few examples of design guidelines in the wild:
As you wrap up this stage, be sure your guidelines will help solve the problem. Test your guidelines by finding where the current experience moves toward or away from each of them. If you want to understand the opportunity for differentiation, put your competitors to this same test.
Refine the Vision
A vision shows how your future experience will meet your users needs in a new way. Your vision provides a powerful look ahead to a time when your long-term goals have been met. It provides direction and guidance to all the team members by showing them what they are trying to accomplish. By working towards a clear product vision, they remain confident and focused.
Here are a few questions for thought as you refine your vision:
- What need(s) will this new experience solve?
- How will different personas use this product or service?
- Are there other solutions that meet this need today?
- How would the world be different if you met all of your known user needs?
Map the Future User Journey
During the discover phase, you made a set of journey maps that show how your user is moving across channels today. Now, let’s take a look at how your user will move through channels in the future with the new product or service.
Start by defining the future user journey across all of the channels and touchpoints affected by your effort in some way. Feel free to use your current journey map for reference. Confirm that the future journey connects with both the project objectives and design guidelines. To make the best use of your personas, consider how each of them will move through your future ecosystem in different ways. As before, be sure to note all key touchpoints and moments of truth.
When working with a large team, host a workshop to baseline your future journey maps. Review all relevant findings with the team before digging into the details. Be sure to note any assumptions and outstanding questions for reference.
Spot the Impact
Last but not least, map out all of the people, processes, services and systems that may be impacted by the future user journey. By taking the time to do this, you begin to understand all of the operational changes needed to bring this new experience to life.
Look at the future journey, and notice all of the touchpoints and moments of truth. You’ll find that people, processes and systems are needed. For each of these touchpoints and moments of truth, start by describing the people of influence. For this step, include details about their roles, skills and motivations. Next, explore the processes affecting each touchpoint by explaining their objectives, outcomes and pain points. Finally, describe the impacting systems and tools. These may be digital or non-digital. Note any constraints across each of these facets.
If your journey map contains both digital and personal touchpoints, consider creating a service blueprint. A service blueprint moves beyond the journey by detailing all of the interactions that go into creating an experience. These user interactions may be digital in nature, but may also include service employees. Your service blueprint will illustrate the direct user interactions along with all of those that happen behind the scenes.
If you’re working in a large organization, connect with your cross-functional stakeholders who are familiar with business processes and systems. They can help you spot the impacts.
Wrap Up & Move to Govern
You’ve created design guidelines, defined the future journey and spotted the impact. Next, let’s manage the scope for your effort.
For more on managing scope, see Govern: Manage The Scope.