Establish the business context
defining the challenge
At the beginning of an engagement, we set the foundation for success by developing an understanding of the business, the industry, the competition and relevant trends. This becomes the basis for how we approach all subsequent phases. Along with secondary research, we interview stakeholders and subject matter experts, both to gain a first-hand awareness of the company context, and also to build connections within the business which contribute to stakeholder alignment throughout the engagement. This activity begins to define hypotheses for where the company intends to play in the market, who it intends to serve and how it plans to serve them.
observe users and customers in the field
developing insights from observations
Great strategies for software are built on rich insight. The most meaningful insights for experience strategy are developed with a deep, behavior-based understanding of users or customers. Our experience strategists observe people in context - where they work, play or live - to understand their goals, needs and aspirations as they go about their daily lives. If a product does not yet exist, this first-hand look helps to identify unmet needs that a product may solve.
Using techniques from the fields of anthropology, psychology, product development and design, we use methods such as “contextual inquiry” to observe and record a rich variety of data, including body language, how people interact with their tools and how they construct their environments to be successful in their worlds. The value here is seeing and finding unexpected elements which lead to surprising insights.
To get to the core of what they care about, we also open authentic dialogues with customers to hear the stories that define their experiences.
identify patters and key stories
analyzing and synthesizing data
Data is only as valuable as the meaning we craft
from it. We have tried-and-true methods for moving from observations to insights. These meaningful insights are the next building block in the process of building an experience strategy.
We take a comprehensive, rigorous approach to process data from the field and use it to spark explanations of what is behind the observations. Getting to the deeper understanding that insights provide beyond the raw data is a key step that sets professionals apart from amateurs.
CREATE AN ACTIONABLE CUSTOMER MODEL
establish audience groupings
Because specific targets are better than vague ones, we create personas - single archetypes that represent a group of people with similar behaviors, attitudes and motivations. Personas keep us focused on real people who exhibit unique sets of characteristics. These behavior-based personas assist us throughout ideation, design and marketing to help teams develop appropriate solutions and messages.
While personas are a popular technique used
by many companies to create archetypal user profiles, projekt202’s personas are far more robust than those created from market research data alone. Well-crafted personas grounded in user observations document much more than simple demographic data. Instead, they tell us about what drives segments to behave and believe as they do.
visualize the experience touchpoints
mapping of the user or customer journey
Companies are often so focused on their solution that they forget that it is part of a larger whole: the customer’s life. As the customer interacts with the company or engages in a life process, such as buying a house, understanding the key activities and experiences the customer has helps determine the most valuable places to focus resources and ensure that each interaction with the company fits the experience the organization wants to provide.
The understanding of the key activities and experiences is built into an informative diagram called a Customer Journey Map. This diagram informs key decisions for business, marketing and design executives, and can shift stakeholders’ thinking about where to engage across the lifecycle of a customer’s journey.
diagram work across roles
modeling the activity and cognitive states of the users
When an engagement centers on a complex tool for the enterprise, the Consolidated Workflow Diagram captures activity across organizational roles and provides stakeholders a single view of all of the work accomplished in and around a tool. This diagram gives stakeholders an “aha!” moment as, for the first time, they have a picture of the duties employees or customers accomplish in their work lives.
Through the use of a Consolidated Workflow Diagram, we see how a user moves through tasks and we extrapolate from here to the various cognitive states a user inhabits while engaged with the solution or process.
These cognitive states represent a model of what is in people’s minds as they do their work: their mental model. This understanding has implications for both design and marketing.
The cognitive states can help to inform the interface for a new way to navigate and complete tasks in a software tool. By aligning with how people think about their work, we produce tools that feel intuitive and easy to use. This understanding also provides an input to marketing, providing marketers with key information for creating a communication plan that resonates with customers.
develop decision-making frameworks
principles for experience strategy
A solid experience strategy provides a decision-making framework to drive customer-centered initiatives across the company. After the investment in deep customer understanding, the results can be shared among many departments to increase their value to the company.
The framework is a set of principles or questions that guide the development of ideas for solutions as well as the subsequent work performed by multiple teams in developing and marketing those solutions: architects, marketers, designers, branders, etc. This decision-making framework is valuable because it puts to work the understanding of the needs and concerns of the customer group, captured in the field observations. It persists beyond a specific project, providing value long after an engagement.
develop and evaluate solutions to identified challenges
envision, prioritize and rank opportunity concepts
A key value that an experience strategy delivers
is a set of new ideas for serving customers. The information distilled from the previous techniques and the company’s strategic requirements comes together in an Opportunities Matrix that clearly lays out a set of options for improving the experience of the user base to increase their engagement and satisfaction.
To generate the ideas, projekt202 teams collaborate with product and executive teams to brainstorm concepts for innovation and improvement. Together, the combined team prioritizes
the opportunities based on the difficulty of implementation, the feasibility for the business to deliver and the impact that each solution concept may have on users.
establish an experience-driven product roadmap
a way forward, with customers in mind
Experience-Driven Product Roadmaps give the needs of customers a seat at the table, helping to ensure that what is released is what customers will value. We collaborate with product teams to incorporate the understanding and strategy developed in the Revealing Reality phase into the plan for how to group and sequence capabilities in an application. This includes the selection of features for the minimum viable product – an MVP that users and customers will be eager to adopt because it is developed with their needs in mind.
An Experience-Driven Product Roadmap provides a way forward to head in the direction established by the experience strategy. Having deep user understanding enables the cadence of releases to be structured to appeal to users, providing a built-in incentive to update an application. This is how we build a holistic experience that addresses customers’ and business’ goals and positively impacts the company’s value.
start early and establish your launch plan
identify how to drive engagement with the solution
The Revealing Reality phase is an investment in understanding how to create an experience that resonates with customers. One dividend of the investment is that these insights can now feed directly into the strategy for enabling customers to become aware of and engage with the planned experiences, and the organization as a whole.
This plan uses experience insights, as well as market data, to determine the channels, content, messages and cadences that are right for specific personas at specific points in their journeys. This enables companies to build relationships with their customers that extend beyond transactions to build value. It ensures that great experiences find an audience in a world full of offerings.
Reach out to find out more about the Revealing Reality process and how an experience strategy can help you redefine your business.