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Building Products for Humans


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Common traps and pitfalls and practical tips to build whole product experiences, from my talk at the January Products That Count event in nyc. Check out the companion post on the General Assembly blog at

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Building Products for Humans

  1. 1. Building Products For Humans Shiren Vijiasingam Picture by Tim Gouw on Pexels
  2. 2. General Assembly Weight Watchers College Board Helping people pursue work they love and change careers Helping people achieve healthy lifestyles through behavior change Helping people find success in college and career me
  3. 3. Organizations that add just a little bit every day always defeat those that are in the subtraction business. - Seth godin
  4. 4. Wait, where are you?
  5. 5. is my avocado here yet?
  6. 6. Crap, where’s my wallet?
  7. 7. I bought the wrong thing? Weight Watchers Maine by Jackie Conn on Bangor Daily News
  8. 8. Oh S%*#, I forgot it
  9. 9. This is mode shift friction
  10. 10. And then there’s the good!
  11. 11. How does she know my name?
  12. 12. Now i don’t have to call
  13. 13. Found a Good point to STOP
  14. 14. Notice the pattern?
  15. 15. Let’s fix it!
  16. 16. A brief history on mapping 1984 1999 2008 Service design Journey maps EXPERIENCE MAPS Service Blueprint by Brandon Schauer, Journey Map by Joel Flom, Experience Map by Chris Risdon
  17. 17. The product experience loop
  18. 18. USER sms / chatbots telephony retail pos / fulfillment esp a-b test / personalization oem level data device level / review external review / discussionMETHODS CHANNELS
  19. 19. 5 steps to alleviate this friction
  20. 20. 1. Find your gaps 2. Capture gap data 3. Track shift triggers 4. Fix the friction 5. Close the loop
  21. 21. 1. Find your gaps Identify those big mode shift gaps in your product experience
  22. 22. Find your gaps 1. Review existing maps with customer facing teams 2. As a collective team, circle the gaps 3. Name a product + ops steward for each circle PRO TIP: Nothing existing? anyone on the team can sketch the flows
  23. 23. 2. Capture gap data Instrument systems and deploy methods to collect gap data
  24. 24. Capture gap data 1. Review your existing data sources 2. Identify instrumentation & research needed 3. Plan and roll them out PRO TIP: No dedicated researcher? Get the team shadowing customers.
  25. 25. 3. Track shift triggers Define events that create shifts in mode
  26. 26. Track shift triggers 1. Use what you already have/know 2. Look for patterns of events that precede a shift 3. Prioritize based on value: user, business, effort 1 2 4 3 PRO TIP: Combine qual and quant to define priority
  27. 27. 4. Fix the friction Plan and execute solutions for those priorities
  28. 28. Fix the friction 1. Expand scope / create team(s) if needed 2. Engage org-wide (responsibility ≠ ownership) 3. Make a plan for the fixes, and execute on it PRO TIP: It may not always be a product solution
  29. 29. 5. Close the loop Connect every user interaction, anticipate new triggers
  30. 30. Close the loop 1. Connect the data, get everyone access 2. Flag your data gaps, make a plan to fix it 3. Keep talking regularly across teams PRO TIP: Even with disparate systems, access to data helps align everyone on problem solving
  31. 31. Next sprint, start fixing mode shift friction Find your gaps » Capture gap data » Track shift triggers » Fix the friction » Close the loop » Gather / sketch your flows, circle your gaps, put a name against each one Gather / share existing data, ask teams what data they would love to have List top volume drivers per channel, activity that preceded a ‘contact’ Identify a gap to close in <30 days; need not be software - e.g. email, IVR Give service team pilot access to a product system to addresses a pain point
  32. 32. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya angelou
  33. 33. @shirenv Let’s chat... Icons by Alfredo Hernandez on IconFinder, photo by Craig Samoviski