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Email first a lean strategy & a workflow lens


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How we could use Email as a simple but effective tool to both validate problems and potential solutions AND to understand the users we are designing for a little better in a practical sense.

Like Mobile-First, only a bit different...

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Email first a lean strategy & a workflow lens

  1. 1. J u s t l i k e ‘ M o b i l e - F i r s t ’ EMAIL FIRST DESIGN Leveraging Email as a Lean Strategy AND as a Tactical Lens to reveal User Journey Insights.
  2. 2. Email has become so integral in our daily interaction with the web, it has almost disappeared. 2
  3. 3. That is why it can yield such useful insights for designing lean, practical user experiences. 3
  4. 4. I believe that like “Mobile First” a similar approach called “Email First” can yield
 excellent user insights. 4
  5. 5. SOME QUICK HISTORY: MOBILE FIRST 5 What is it? UX design that focusses on the Mobile device first. ! This includes: ▫︎The mobile interface limitations as they are the most difficult. ▫︎Network and access issues. ▫︎The user context whilst using mobile as to design the most valuable, relevant experience. ▫︎Exploration of opportunities that only exist in mobile e.g. GPS, Accelerometer, etc. ▫︎First in the design process, not necessarily the production process or an m. site. ▫︎Often the UI development is written mobile first, but doesn’t have to be.
  6. 6. EMAIL PROVIDES LEAN VALIDATION 6 So what kinds of things will help us with lean validation? ▫︎Quick deployment of information and features to customers. ▫︎Quick feedback from those customers, essentially a closed loop. ▫︎No big back-end infrastructure, where possible fake it. ▫︎Low budgets required. ▫︎Focus on validating or invalidating problem hypotheses. ! EMAIL DOES ALL OF THESE
  7. 7. EMAIL IMPROVES USER EXPERIENCE MAPPING 7 So what are we looking for to allow us to design meaningful, useful experiences? ▫︎Minimum/ key interaction points with the product. ▫︎Where the most alignment with the user’s existing processes and patterns may exist. ▫︎Ability to integrate with other systems through the most reliable base platform. ▫︎Device/platform/ place agnosticism. ▫︎Ability to handle a range of content types. ▫︎Ability to time asynchronously. (A Service Design theme you’ll find in much of the latest UX thinking.) EMAIL IS AN EFFECTIVE LENS FOR FINDING THESE POINTS
  8. 8. USE 1 - LEAN VALIDATION 8 Once the problem hypothesis has been articulated, the problem itself or a solution may be tested in order to validate it. Email may be used to engage a small set of users on the subject in order to tease out an answer.
  9. 9. USE 1 - LEAN VALIDATION 9 For example: A small set of qualified users [in this case customers] have signed up to a service that will provide information as the product at set intervals, say daily. This information can be emailed to the subscriber list manually, without needing a website or any code to be written. The emails are essentially experiments, and must be structured correctly in order to protect the integrity of the data collected, and indeed to illicit a response. [Some formal research knowledge is helpful here.] Another example could include the use of email as a way to alert a user to a specific page of information hosted on a lightweight site, without a login system or account setup required, again quick and easy to setup and gather responses to learn about the user’s interest and ability to affect an action.
  10. 10. WHAT WOULD IT LOOK LIKE - LEAN VALIDATION 10 Hours/ Days Does this solve your problem? Not really! How about now? Yep, how do I purchase?
  11. 11. USE 2 - CORE EXPERIENCE MAPPING 11 The goal of any design is to make it as meaningful, and simple as possible. Understanding how your product idea might integrate with, and leverage the one service everyone uses and relies upon, is an effective aid in the design process. At this core level, you are forced to think about the key needs of the user, gains provided by the product, and technical constraints of the content. ! !
  12. 12. USE 2 - CORE EXPERIENCE MAPPING 12 For example: You are beginning to design for a problem you have validated. You need to understand the user journeys to ensure you can remove as much friction in the process as you can. This will allow you to create a product which has features for solving the core problem, but also features intrinsic to the design itself. ! ! !
  13. 13. USE 2 - CORE EXPERIENCE MAPPING 13 For example cont: By focussing in on email, you will be able to discover and articulate a number of things including: ▫︎The most relevant sign up/ login in method. [ No password / token based is one of my favourites.] ▫︎Define how the user is intended to return to the product later. ▫︎Understand how the user moves from one product to another throughout the day/week. ▫︎Define the minimum viable amount of content that can be sent whilst still delivering value in the transaction. ▫︎Discover way the product can be integrated with other services via the user before building an API. ▫︎Discover ways the product can be controlled via the single common language on the web.
  14. 14. USE 2 - CORE EXPERIENCE MAPPING 14 The user/ customer journey The product Login info Use on Tablet/ computer Add info to product Not online period Get document from system Getting on with life. Queue information to go into system
  15. 15. In a lean environment
 (unknown problem space + unknown solution space)
 where it is important to validate ideas whilst reducing risk, Email-First forces the designer to focus on the most practical and meaningful of all interaction points. 15
  16. 16. WHAT IS SOCIAL FIRST? 16 Could we do the whole thing using a social first lens? Of course. Here are some of the key differences:
 Social - first: ▫︎Allows you to access users that are not already in your database. ▫︎Allows you to A/B test semi-rich content in the process. (a double edge sword). ▫︎Response/feedback rates may be lower. ▫︎Response/feedback may be much faster. ▫︎Validity of responses may be lower/less useful.
  17. 17. It’s up to you to work out just how lean you can go in the process of discovering insights and validating ideas. 17
  18. 18. FURTHER READING ON THE EMAIL-FIRST MOVEMENT 18 ! ! ▫︎ ▫︎ ▫︎The story of how The Ladders validated their product before building a website. Which is in part, covered in the book, Lean UX: ▫︎#emailfirst ▫︎@metamikebiggs