newsletter #28 | 19-Sep-2017
“Doesn’t the problem space come first? Shouldn’t it appear on the left in your diagram?” Lots of people ask me this. Research in the problem space isn’t a part of any solution cycle, so no, it does not come first. In an industry filled with process cycles (there are even figure-eight cycles), it’s hard to reconcile this idea with conventional step-wise approaches. Read More
newsletter #27 | 15-Aug-2017
When I wrote my book Practical Empathy, I chose my vocabulary carefully. I was thinking of the many clients who got distracted by the words “feelings” and “emotion,” who got great laughs by turning a listening session into a Hollywood psychoanalysis session. “How does that make you feel?” (They were pretending to ask this of their customers, who were engineers trying to solve systems problems.) Read More
newsletter #26 | 18-Jul-2017
Ideas are sexy. You get attention and credit if you have good ideas; you and your organization gain success if your ideas really catch on. But there’s not a heck of a lot of focus on where great ideas come from. We just assume they will show up, leaping like a goddess from our foreheads. Consequently we focus all our resources and effort on perfecting these already-generated ideas. It’s time to mature your practice of creating ideas–the stuff that comes before an idea forms. Read More
newsletter #25 | 20-Jun-2017
Last week I apparently caused a short Denial of Service attack on my own website when I asked listeners at the Agile UX Virtual Conference to look at the problem/solution diagram on my website. Read More
newsletter #24 | 16-May-2017
Building rapport with participants takes some skill and concentration. Here’s an explanation to help you become aware of what it takes.
First, the foundation: There are two types of empathy that I focus on in exploring the problem space. (Do you remember them? Quick mental quiz … take a second. Remember?) Read More
newsletter #23 | 18-Apr-2017
When I give workshops or short talks about researching the problem space, there are three things that audiences have a hard time wrapping their minds around. Each audience is different, and they all don’t react to the same concept. But here are the three concepts that consistently generate the most thinking and questions:
In problem-space research:
- No users
- No note taking
- Not a part of a product cycle
newsletter #22 | 21-Mar-2017
Most organizations have several different products aimed at different market sectors. However each product or service is usually designed with one main user in mind. This product or service ends up only supporting a portion of the people it is aimed at. Read More
newsletter #21 | 21-Feb-2017
Figuring out what to explore in a problem-space study is difficult. For problem-space exploration, you ask participants about the larger intent or purpose; for user-research, you ask about your ideas or products. For example, in a problem-space study having to do with drive-through menu design at a fast food chain, we asked participants, “What went through your mind as you decided what to eat for a quick lunch over the past couple of weeks?” The purpose wasn’t to select from a menu, but to eat lunch.
newsletter #20 | 17-Jan-2017
It’s one thing to say it, quite another to do it. You might agree that broader, deeper understanding of people will strengthen your product strategy and solutions. You might be open to the idea that diverse teams create more sustainable organizations. But getting your own organization to make this shift seems impossible. Because of budget priorities. Because the organization has to get out ahead of the competition faster-than-fast because the market is changing. Because time is money. Because the shareholders need to see profit.
newsletter #19 | 13-Dec-2016
For a few years, Christina Wodtke has been speaking and writing about using stories in your work. When she says “story,” she means stories with characters and a setting and conflict and resolution. She says stories that develop your concern for the character’s outcome are memorable. And she compares stories with a climax to a typical product decision-making process where the focus is on what can be created or fixed–not why.