An in-person research review with a client is a vital step in the life cycle of a project. It allows the client to step inside their customers’ shoes, in a way, to understand their wants, needs and motivations for using a product or service. This step provides a foundation that supports the design and development of better customer experiences.
So how do you conduct a crucial in-person research review during a time of social distancing and canceled travel plans?
In this interview, Experience Researcher Jasmine Walker explains how the projekt202 team quickly adapted to the ever-evolving challenges posed by the coronavirus and successfully delivered for the client:
What was the challenge or opportunity on this project?
After travelling to four of the client’s sites in three countries, it was time for Brittney Holbrook, projekt202 Senior Experience Designer, and myself to analyze and synthesize the thousands of notes and observations we collected in the field.
We returned from Europe just as international travel was coming to a halt and initial voluntary stay-at-home-orders were taking effect due to COVID-19. We sequestered ourselves in one of our large meeting rooms at the projekt202 Dallas office, affinitizing the notes for days, even when most of our co-workers were already working from home full-time.
Finally, word came that our client’s team could no longer travel to our office because of the stay-at-home orders. Brittney and I had to finish the affinity diagramming process remotely. Usually, being surrounded by the thousands of colored sticky notes when clients come to our office for in-person wall walks physically immerses them in the data. In this case, however, our team had to find a way to engage them in this way virtually.
For those who aren’t familiar, what is a wall walk?
To provide some background, after we have finished affinity diagramming — a way to sort data into key themes — we invite our clients to come to our office. Here, they can read all the insights and opportunities that our team gathered in the field; for convenience, this data is displayed on Post-It notes arranged on large foam boards. Being surrounded by this information allows one to hear the stories the participants are telling, as well as spark creativity in terms of ideating solutions.
So this is a critical step in the research review process, but the client was unable to attend in person. How did you solve the issue and keep the project moving forward?
A wall walk is the culmination of months of work. We also needed to present the customer journey map and personas we produced for the project.
So, we scheduled three consecutive days of virtual workshops, each lasting for four hours. This presented the new hurdle of figuring out how to keep our clients engaged for that long on a Zoom meeting.
Brittney suggested that our team use a website for the wall walk workshop as an alternative way to “Wow!” the client, as opposed to a traditional keynote deck. After some investigating and much discussion, our team decided to try this idea, as it was not too much more work than creating a normal presentation deck.
During the virtual wall walk workshop, I presented each theme with a brief overview, gave everyone time to read through the statements on their own, and then gave everyone the opportunity to discuss any quotes or notes that stuck out to them. This was really effective in generating conversation among the client’s team; they even commented on how quickly the four hours flew by because of how our team structured the day.
We even included a link to the Miro Board on the site that houses the full, digitized affinity boards, so stakeholders can read all the notes in addition to the ones we curated for them on the site. Depending on how long the site can stay up, we could also add the customer personas and journey map we produced.
What were the results and feedback from the client? Were there any unexpected advantages you discovered from having to go virtual for this part of the process?
Our clients were extremely impressed with how we presented the wall walk, as they were initially skeptical about the effectiveness of engaging in this kind of workshop virtually. They appreciated our team’s ability to immediately adapt to this new way of meeting and presenting; they also liked that a website link can easily be shared, as opposed to a lengthy deck that requires downloading.
Pictures and audio are not normally a part of a traditional wall walk. However, these additions to some of the themes proved to be really good at gaining empathy for the users, because one literally hears a participant speak about a pain point or opportunity as opposed to a third party relaying that information. Pictures and audio also made our key insights more memorable.
Not only did they discuss opportunities springing from our data, but the client’s stakeholders referred to aspects of projekt202’s methodology that should be implemented within their own organization.
The website added an extra aesthetic value and is a living artifact that can easily be passed around among the client’s organization. Using a website to present the wall walk — as opposed to a slide deck — was incredibly successful and I will absolutely consider using it again, even when we can meet in person, because it is an impressive and effective tool.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Experience Strategy & Insight: Research directly benefits the end user
Get your free copy of our book outlining projekt202’s methodology