Webstock had many great talks this year, and rather than cover off the whole conference, relaying themes and highlights as I have previously - I’ve decided it would be more helpful to share my notes on a few talks in particular.
As the Research and Publishing group embark on creating a new strategic framework within which to operate, thinking about our users has rightly come to the forefront. Kim Goodwin’s talk offered an excellent methodology to learn about users and how we can help create a great experience for them:
Scenarios and storyboards
Kim started with a reference to silos, how they lead to narrow viewpoints and prevent understanding. She pointed out that we inadvertently implement silos in our corporate structure, and in our production systems too. Agile user stories for example, have a narrow problem definition, ie: ‘User needs to Log in’. But - the user is trying to accomplish something, not just ‘log in’ - which brings us to the first and main question to ask ourselves: What is our user trying to accomplish?
From here we can begin to think about ‘Scenarios’. A Scenario is a plausible story about a desired user experience from end to end.
Kim’s tips for developing Scenarios are as follows (she used plane travel as an example, but I’ve added a few examples that are relevant to us):
1. Get the whole story
Talk to people about travel/research/school assignments as a whole.
What kind of trips do you take?
What kind of research do you do?
What kind of assignments do you work on?
Then get into detail - eg: What kind of tools do you use? (Not just our website.)
What software do you write your assignments in. How do you hand them in?
2. Identify what we can fix
Look for frustration, anxiety, work or effort points in the journey.
(Put an Emoji on each step.)
3. Add something unexpectedly good
What would a thoughtful human do?
What if we ran the world? What would be awesome?
4. Make it a story
From the person’s point of view, start with trigger event/need and end when the situation is resolved, e.g.: filed the expense claims/received essay mark.
Where is the user coming from before they get to our part of the experience and where are they heading afterwards, how can we help with the next part?
5. Sketch storyboards
For each scenario and each person/persona create a storyboard of ‘keyframes’. Make it visible - put it on the wall in the office.
In the next blog I’ll cover Jared Spool’s highly educational talk about how to create a product with a great user experience. Jared illustrated the journey from illiteracy to mastery, at an individual, team, organisation and marketplace level.