What's Your Problem? Putting Purpose Back into Your Projects

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“What do you do?” has become the standard opening line for getting to know someone. But if you were asked, “Why do you do what you do?” how would you answer? We are too narrowly focused on developing …

“What do you do?” has become the standard opening line for getting to know someone. But if you were asked, “Why do you do what you do?” how would you answer? We are too narrowly focused on developing solutions for problems that we don’t understand, don’t care about, or worst of all, don’t actually exist. Life is too short to waste our time expertly creating something that matters to no one. Learn to find your “why.” Discover interviewing techniques to build greater empathy with your users, synthesizing techniques to uncover their underlying inefficiencies and frustrations, and tips to continually draw inspiration and long-term product vision from their lives.

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  • 1. What’s Your Problem? Putting Purpose Back into Your Projects ❦ @whitneyhess http://whitneyhess.com whitney@whitneyhess.com Whitney Hess
  • 2. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/genesis/multimedia/gen_team_15278.html
  • 3. http://www.thoughtfarmer.com/clients/intranet-case-studies/continuum/
  • 4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/londonlooks/5563391691/
  • 5. http://thisweekfordinner.com/2009/07/18/time-to-swif-swif-with-the-swiffer-wet-jet/
  • 6. http://thisweekfordinner.com/2009/07/18/time-to-swif-swif-with-the-swiffer-wet-jet/
  • 7. http://thisweekfordinner.com/2009/07/18/time-to-swif-swif-with-the-swiffer-wet-jet/
  • 8. Design is the problem(not just the solution)
  • 9. Principles of Problem Solving Process Define the problem before trying to solve it People Ask questions to root out the truth Purpose Be obsessed with the problem, not the solution
  • 10. ProcessDefine the problem before trying to solve it
  • 11. “If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend 55 minutes defining the problem and 5 minutes finding the solution.” Albert Einstein
  • 12. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25945866/Carbon-Footprint-Calculation-Detail
  • 13. Problem Setting > Solving
  • 14. What is a Problem?Gap between Problem ownercurrent and wants to do &desired somethingstate about it
  • 15. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ljmcallister/1012818172/
  • 16. http://www.flickr.com/photos/boiselighting/3604789822/
  • 17. http://mommyblogstoronto.typepad.com/bloghers_act_canada/2007/09/unwrapped.html
  • 18. Who is yourtarget audience?
  • 19. People Ask questionsto root out the truth
  • 20. ﬔe problem is out there, not at your desk.
  • 21. User Research ✦ Interviews ✦ Observations ✦ Surveys ✦ Card sorts ✦ Diary studies ✦ Etc.
  • 22. Market User vs. Research ResearchWhat people like What people do
  • 23. User Research ✦ Interviews ✦ Observations ✦ Surveys ✦ Card sorts ✦ Diary studies ✦ Etc.
  • 24. To determine the user’s real problem:1. Find representative users2. Ask questions3. Listen closely4. Write it all down5. Paraphrase to confirm understanding
  • 25. User Interviews Lifestyle QuestionsTell me a bit about yourself. Wheredo you live? Where are you from?What do you do?What kind of home do you live in?What do you use for transportation?Special diet?
  • 26. User Interviews Context QuestionsHow did you become eco-conscious?How long has it been?How do you conserve? Since when?What are the obstacles in your life thatprevent you from conserving more?What is the value of being eco-conscious?
  • 27. User Interviews Influence QuestionsWhere do you get your information onenvironmental issues/conserving?What eco-conscious or environmentalsites/blogs/publications do you read?What environmental organizations doyou belong to? Why those? How didyou hear about them?
  • 28. User Interviews Social QuestionsWith whom do you share environmentalinfo that you find? How?Tell me about a recent conversationyou’ve had with a friend or family memberabout the environment or “going green”What do you think is preventing yourfriends or family from doing more?
  • 29. User Interviews Familiarity QuestionsWhat do you know about carbonoffsets? Have you purchased them?Have you calculated your carbonfootprint? Where? How?
  • 30. User Interviews Web Use QuestionsWhat other websites do you frequent?What social networking sites do you use?Why these?How oen? How many friends/followers?What do you do most oen on each site?What was the last thing you did on <site>?
  • 31. User Interviews Tech Use QuestionsWhat kind of computer do you own?When did you buy it? Who else uses it?How do you connect to the Internet?What kind of mobile phone do youhave? When did you buy it? What doyou use it for?What other devices do you own?
  • 32. Personas
  • 33. Impractical advice http://www.mymothermode.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/diapers.jpg
  • 34. Guilt tripshttp://cdn.babble.com/famecrawler/files/2011/05/playdate.jpg
  • 35. One-handed browsing
  • 36. ﬔe Real Problem✦ Impractical advice✦ Guilt trips✦ One-handed browsing
  • 37. But I can’t talk with users... http://garryregier.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/chained-to-desk-computer-grey.jpg
  • 38. Empathy Map Created by Dave Gray of XPLANE – Gamestorming pg. 65
  • 39. Empathy Map http://www.cccc.org/blogs/john/2012/02/10/empathy-maps-a-way-to-understand-your-donors-and-beneficiaries/
  • 40. 5 Whys Problem Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Created by Sakichi Toyoda – Gamestorming pg. 141-143
  • 41. Teacher5 Whys Management usage is low Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
  • 42. Teacher5 Whys Management usage is low Why? ﬔey aren’t logging in Why? Why? Why? Why?
  • 43. Teacher5 Whys Management usage is low Why? ﬔey aren’t logging in ﬔey can’t remember Why? their credentials Why? Why? Why?
  • 44. Teacher5 Whys Management usage is low Why? ﬔey aren’t logging in ﬔey can’t remember Why? their credentials ﬔey aren’t using it Why? enough Why? Why?
  • 45. Teacher5 Whys Management usage is low Why? ﬔey aren’t logging in ﬔey can’t remember Why? their credentials ﬔey aren’t using it Why? enough It’s intimidating and Why? unclear Why?
  • 46. Teacher5 Whys Management usage is low Why? ﬔey aren’t logging in ﬔey can’t remember Why? their credentials ﬔey aren’t using it Why? enough It’s intimidating and Why? unclear System terminology Why? doesn’t match theirs
  • 47. Fishbone DiagramCause Cause EffectCause Cause http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 48. Fishbone Diagram Cause CauseCause Cause Cause Effect CauseCause Cause Cause Cause http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 49. Fishbone Diagram Low % manual adjustments http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 50. Fishbone Diagram Te ac he rs ar en ’t lo ggi ng in Low % manual adjustments http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 51. Fishbone Diagram Te ac he rs ar en ’t lo ggi ng in Low % manual ng adjustments ki t a n ’ t mtme en jus ar d rs al a henu ac a Te m http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 52. Fishbone Diagram Te acCan’t remember credentials he rs ar en ’t Don’t have time lo ggi ng in Low % manual ng adjustments ki t a n ’ t mtme en jus ar d rs al a henu ac a Te m http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 53. Fishbone Diagram Te acCan’t remember credentials he rs ar en ’t Don’t have time lo ggi ng in Low % manual ng adjustments Don’t know they should be ki t a n ’ t mtme en jus Don’t know how ar d rs al a henu ac a Te m http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 54. Fishbone Diagram Te ac Can’t remember credentials heHa rs ve ar n’ en tu se ’t d Don’t have time lo it fo Li m Ta ggi ra it timed ke lo s ng wh ng to in e lab ile o Low % manual ng adjustments Don’t know they should be ki t a n ’ t mtme en jus Don’t know how ar d rs al a henu ac a Te m http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 55. Fishbone Diagram Te ac Can’t remember credentials he Ha rs ve ar n’ en tu se ’t d Don’t have time lo it fo Li m Ta ggi ra it timed ke lo s ng wh ng to in e lab ile o Low % manual ng adjustments Don’t know they should be ki t a n t mtme l g ua ni n ’ an ai m tr en jus r e ad e ive Don’t know how ar d n’t re c rs al a henu id tD n’ er to ac a d b Di e m rd out r ’t i m ing e n o ha e o ur Te m n tra T fig Ca http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 56. Fishbone Diagram Te ac Can’t remember credentials he Ha rs ve ar n’ en tu se ’t d Don’t have time lo it fo Li m Ta ggi ra it timed ke lo s ng wh ng to in e lab ile o Low % manual ng adjustments Don’t know they should be ki t a n t mtme l g ua ni n ’ an ai m tr en jus r e ad e ive Don’t know how ar d n’t re c rs al a henu id tD n’ er to ac a d b Di e m rd out r ’t i m ing e n o ha e o ur Te m n tra T fig Ca Setting is buried http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 57. Fishbone Diagram Te ac Can’t remember credentials he Ha rs ve ar n’ en tu se ’t d Don’t have time lo it fo Li m Ta ggi ra it timed ke lo s ng wh ng to in e lab ile o Low % manual ng adjustments Don’t know they should be ki t a n t mtme l g ua ni n ’ an ai m tr en jus r e ad e ive Don’t know how ar d n’t re c rs al a henu id tD n’ er to ac a d b Di e m rd out r ’t i m ing e n o ha e o ur Te m n tra T fig Ca Setting is buried http://pri-network.org/training/fishbone.html
  • 58. Purpose Be obsessedwith the problem, not the solution
  • 59. Question assumptions
  • 60. Be more ambitious http://www.slideshare.net/bokardo/metricsdriven-design-4317168
  • 61. Cra a Problem Statement ✦ Concise ✦ Specific ✦ Measurable
  • 62. Problem Statement Format Who needs what because why .
  • 63. Casual environmentalists needcreative ways to conservewithout the guilt trip becausethey have constraints onadapting their lifestyle.
  • 64. Teachers in non-salesregions need an in-depthonboarding processbecause they aren’tusing critical settings.
  • 65. 5Ws Technique ✦ Who? ✦ What? ✦ Where? ✦ When? ✦ Why?
  • 66. So Skills:✦ Listening✦ Empathy✦ Connection✦ Facilitation✦ Persuasion✦ Patience
  • 67. “How can I help you be more successful?”
  • 68. ﬔe persistenceof the problem is purpose
  • 69. Principles of Problem Solving Process Define the problem before trying to solve it People Ask questions to root out the truth Purpose Be obsessed with the problem, not the solution
  • 70. Life is too short to waste it solvingthe wrong problems
  • 71. ﬔank you. Whitney Hess @whitneyhess http://whitneyhess.com whitney@whitneyhess.com
  • 72. Further ReadingBuilding Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems http://www.cognexus.org/Rotman-interview_SharedUnderstanding.pdf You Are Solving ﬔe Wrong Problem http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/the-wrong-problem/A New Make Mantra: A Statement of Design Intent http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/comments/a-new-make-mantra-a-statement-of-design-intent 17 Types of Interviewing Questions http://www.portigal.com/blog/seventeen-types-of-interviewing-questions/ My Best Advice to Conducting User Interviews http://whitneyhess.com/blog/2010/07/07/my-best-advice-for-conducting-user-interviews/