Every company wants to create the best user experience. So when my client workshop started by « we want to improve our user experience » I just asked why. My client was a traditional bank who wanted to target a younger audience – but he doesn’t succeed.
I know so many companies are working all centered on personal assumptions of the ultimate decision-maker. These hypotheses and tastes are all conveyed into the final product. My « why » was the first step to shift the focus of product design from manager’s assumptions to user needs. Before running to find a solution, we must understand people’s needs.
Discover and understand a need requires a methodology. That was the moment I introduce the Design Thinking approach to my client.
Solving problems in a highly user-centric way
Design Thinking is a 5 steps methodology – Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test – to understand users, highlight a problem and take action.
A Design Thinking approach can help you gain valuable insights into the problem you’re trying to solve and the people who are struggling with it. Some people would say it’s just one of many methodology, but for me, it’s a powerful hands-on approach. Design thinking is more than just a process, it opens up an entirely new way to think.
For my client, adopting this approach has been a real shock in their internal culture. Until now, the design process and decisions were made by internal teams based on brand guidelines and the manager’s hypothesis. They had to be accompanied to adopt new tools to better understand their users.
Some tools to make usable, accessible and pleasant user experience
A constant question with the design thinking process revolves around “is it useful, usable, desirable, efficient, and effective?” The more you involve the customer, the more you design the solutions to match these requirements.
We started with a storyboard to design step-by-step the scenario of the user experience. The most interesting aspects of Design Thinking is empathy and context. The context matters when you create things that consider how user use it and how the user relate to it. Storyboards represent a vision or a concept in a tangible way. Through storytelling, you can visualize how the product is used in the real world and develop empathy for users.
With the storyboard, we were able to see how the consumer interacts with the product and identify quickly pains during the user journey. This tool allowed us to visualize the user’s understanding of the value proposition.
We completed our research with an Emotion Experience Map to organize by consumer thinking/feeling, what they’re experiencing and pains.
These two complementary tools allowed us to re-build the user’s experience and better understand their pains and feelings.
We realized that this young audience felt lost and frustrated on the interface. They spent time searching for information when they have questions, but the bank hasn’t an online chat available or a FAQ section. They thought that users felt more reassured to have a meeting or phone call with an advisor. They were convinced the online chat wasn’t a priority!
Also, we noticed that the products frequently highlighted by the bank were not those interested in the younger generation. Another proof that the bank didn’t understand the user in this case.
With those pieces of information, we were able to define clearer lines of improvement. They knew that they needed to rebuild consumer trust and that the way to do this would be to speak to the customer in their own language and become a more relatable brand.
The Take Away
Design Thinking is an iterative and flexible process to bring ideas to life based on how real users think, feel and behave. This approach is clearly focused on collaboration between designers and users.
To conclude with a key take away: use design thinking to truly think about your user.