Flashes of inspiration on how to improve certain areas within a product come to everyone every now and then. When that lightbulb moment happens, it feels fun, innovative and seems to have the potential to make the world a better place. Your users are sure to love it just as much as you do, right?
But before you get carried away and start to design and build a new feature, the real problem behind the idea needs to be defined and validated. Without fully understanding what and why you are trying to improve, the idea has quite a high risk of failure and huge costs for the company.
Define, design, build, test, iterate
At HeadBox, an iterative design approach – define, design, build, test, iterate – is an integral part of our process to create products and services that actually make a difference in the lives of our customers and users.
Last year we asked ourselves how confident we are in the experience our business customers go through while using HeadBox in order to figure out what we can do better.
Business customer experience is a broad area, it involves many stakeholders and covers many layers of service – from helping a team to organise a meeting to giving a manager tools that allow them to have oversight on their team or event programme.
First, we wanted to understand what current customers love the most about HeadBox, what’s not working particularly well for them and whether there are certain things that they need that we are unaware of. For broad exploration like this the double diamond approach comes in handy.
It’s a robust, user-centred design process with two phases – discovery and delivery. The process begins with helping multiple teams to define the problem through understanding users and their needs and ends with a mutual agreement on ideas to experiment with.
How it works
We started our discovery with extensive research to get both internal and external feedback on product usability and levels of satisfaction with existing products and services. Talking directly to our customers and getting a peek into their lives as event planners, team managers and financial analysts was invaluable and got us more insightful information than we could have hoped for. Walking together through the journey uncovered several pain points and helped us map the experience and how HeadBox fits into people’s working routines.
We created a customer journey map and an internal service map, highlighting the pain points which helps us to look at verticals and find steps in the journey that are critical to customers and the business.
Synthesis of customer interviews uncovers themes of what is important for the customers, what needs improving and what we could focus on.
Understanding who your product’s users are, their behaviours and motivations is crucial in deciding what to build or fix next.
As it often happens, this straight-forward process was less linear in reality and was challenged by many constraints. Reduced hours, remote work, endless lockdown, all of it takes its toll on product development.
One of the biggest downsides of wide research like this is information overload. There will always be questions that we could explore in more detail, but it’s impossible to cover everything, that’s why we set a fixed time frame to complete our discovery research before 2021 to enable us to move on to the next phase – agree on the direction and deliver a solution our customers can start using.
Our focus for 2021
In the end, we narrowed down our focus to only three areas for improvement in 2021: success of our customer onboarding, a simple and fast booking process and a transparent account performance overview.
It may not seem like a lot, but to achieve success it’s better to do fewer things, but do them well. On the positive side, the process of going through this discovery together and sharing the learnings helped everyone at HeadBox to gain a deeper understanding of who our customers and users are and to find much needed focus to work towards a common goal.
Next step this year is to get stuck into designing and building product experiments with the winning ideas we gathered through the discovery research.