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Using mental models for product success


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Indie Young's framework for mental models as presented by Tafida Negm at Product Anonymous.

Published in: Technology
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Using mental models for product success

  1. 1. Using Mental Models for Product Success Key takeaways from Indi Young’s Methodology Tafida Negm @FidaNegm ProductAnonymous‘19
  2. 2. A little about me
  3. 3. ● Freelance researcher and speaker ● Author of Mental Models & Practical Empathy ● Educator and coach ● Co-founder of Adaptive Path Indi Young
  4. 4. 1. What, why & when 2. Solution space research 3. Problem space research 4. How to (overview) 5. Using Mental Models 6. Q&A Overview
  5. 5. What are mental models?
  6. 6. Models people have of themselves, others, their environment and the things they interact with.” Don Norman, Co-founder NN Group What are mental models? “
  7. 7. Mental models give you a deep understanding of people’s motivations and thought-processes, along with the emotional and philosophical landscape in which they operate” Indi young, Author mental models What are mental models? “
  8. 8. Mental model diagram
  9. 9. ● Innovate in a new direction ● Strategise broader & farther than your current solution ● Spend a lot of time re-architecting / re-inventing ● Existing user research is fragmented ● Recognise you are out of touch with your audience ○ Think everyone is your user ○ Make-believe & assumptions drive design decisions ○ No improvements after test & iterate cycles When do you need this?
  10. 10. Problem Space Solution Space Opportunity Backlog Strategy Product Backlog Product Discovery People Mental Model Thinking Styles+ Ref: Amended from Advanced Problem Space Research Training Series, by Indi Young Product Develop- ment
  11. 11. source: Ref: Dave Landis
  12. 12. source: Ref: Indi Young
  13. 13. Ref: Indi Young What next
  14. 14. Solution space research Think Make Check Solution
  15. 15. We ideas
  16. 16. Solution space
  17. 17. We agile (Read: we love speed)
  18. 18. Move fast works for engineering, not for understanding people.” Indi young, Author Mental Models “ Solution space
  19. 19. Solution space
  20. 20. Solution space
  21. 21. We’ll just go with a product concept test, and do deeper research later. Solution Space
  22. 22. Solution space
  23. 23. (Read: we seek certainty over ambiguity) We quant Solution space
  24. 24. Show me the numbers to give me confidence the product/feature will be successful. Things we can measure with accuracy. I want this organisation to be data-driven.” “ Solution space
  25. 25. Think Make Check Idea Listen Cultivate patterns Develop empathy People Problem space Solution space
  26. 26. Problem space Think Make Check Idea Listen Cultivate patterns Develop empathy People Solution space
  27. 27. The point is to understand people deeply - so deeply you could live their life, walk in their shoes and make decisions exactly as they would. Cognitive Empathy Problem space
  28. 28. Explanations Preferences Generalizations Statements of fact Opinions Inner thinking Reactions Guiding principles Surface Depth
  29. 29. Person What a person wants to accomplish or achieve in the problem space. E.g. Intent = Take my elderly grandmother to the Eiffel Tower Exploratoration of opportunities Has all the power Long lasting (+/- 10yrs) Less common User with (potential) relationship to your org User behaviour in relation to the services or products your org provides E.g. Task = book a return flight Goal = plan a vacation Generative & Evaluative directed at solutions Gets all the attention Short-mid term Common Problem space Solution space
  32. 32. Active listening to develop cognitive empathy ● Non-directed ● Always one-on-one ● Usually over the phone What is a listening session? How to - overview
  33. 33. ● Pair up with your friendly neighbour. ● Ask the question: a “What went through your mind the last time you decided to stay in a hotel?” ● ONE RULE: as a listener you don’t say anything. Just pay attention to what goes through your mind when you are listening. ● After 2 minutes we will switch. Activity 1 2 minutes each
  34. 34. What went through your mind when you were listening? Activity 1 - reflection
  35. 35. ● Focus on immediate experience ● Only open ended questions ● No words of your own ● Dinner party rule ● Don’t focus on tools used Tips for listening sessions
  36. 36. Thinking Styles are deeply researched, demographic free*, bias-free behavioural-based audience segments. For Thinking Styles we cultivate patterns across participants looking at what defines the different approaches to achieving their purpose. What’s the thinking that underpins their approach? * Demographics rarely cause reasoning/behaviour (unless in reaction to discrimination, physiology or possibly culture/environment) Thinking styles
  37. 37. Ref: Thinking Styles Healthwise, by Indi Young
  38. 38. 2. Summaries 3. Intent 4. Mental space 1. Quotes Ref: Indi Young
  39. 39. Anatomy of a Mental Model Mental space Intent Summaries
  40. 40. From Mental Model to Opportunity Map
  41. 41. From Mental Model to Opportunity Map Add org capability
  42. 42. Ref: Mental Modelling: Qualitative Mapping Audience Behaviors, by V Malzer & S von Schrader, Cornell Employment & Disability,
  43. 43. ● Gap analysis - the difference between approaches and your orgs capability ● Risk mitigation - verify solutions are aligned to people ● Widen knowledge of the possibilities in the problem space ● Clarify positioning & prioritisation ● Diversification - more closely align design possibilities to the nuances of different thinking styles. ● Content mapping of a proposed solution ● Consolidate existing research into one overview Uses of a mental model
  44. 44. Gap analysis Using MMD
  45. 45. Gap analysis Using MMD
  46. 46. Overlay thinking styles Using MMD
  47. 47. Overlay metrics Using MMD
  48. 48. Add competitor capability (or technical foundations, business goals) Using MMD
  49. 49. You represent an insurance company offering auto and home insurance. Recently, they conducted some problem space studies, one of which was about what goes through people’s minds during and immediately after an auto accident. Because of what they discovered, the group suspects there might be something related to learn from thinking patterns during near-misses. So they conducted another study in order to have a stronger foundation from which to create their potential ideas for new directions. The scope of their subsequent study is: “What was on your mind during and after a memorable near-miss accident?” Use the supplied documents (i.e. the mental model, the business goals and the highlighted patterns) to help the organisation develop opportunities. Give it a go! 15 minutes
  50. 50. ● Be aware of broader cultures and approaches ● Stop assumptions & convention from deciding ● Recognize the narrowness of current solutions ● Multiply the goals your org seeks ● Support broader sets of people ● Consolidate research and have a powerful overview ● Have continuity of design strategy and org vision Benefits of Mental Models Using MMD
  51. 51. ● Problem space research is like fertiliser for the solution space ● Take time to understand people deeply ● Design with thinking styles in mind ● Listening sessions are awesome! Key takeaways Outro
  52. 52. Further reading Practical Empathy & Mental Models Indi Young Listening Well William Miller Mixed Methods Sam Ladner Technically Wrong Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  53. 53. The more technology becomes embedded in all aspects of life, the more it matters whether it’s biased, alienating, or harmful.” Sara Wachter-Boettcher, Author Technically Wrong “
  54. 54. What resonated with you? Tafida Negm @FidaNegm Let’s talk!