We know the destination before we leave home to work in the morning. Just like that, we need the vision to be set before our UX rocket can blast off so that we know which star our rocket will land on.
Setting the vision for a design is the most important part of the process.
Unless you want your UX rocket to land on the sun and turn into a pile of ash.
Recently I came across this Quora answer by Ian McAllister about “Amazon’s working backward process in product development”. In their process, they do an internal press release of the product as the first step of the product design before the researching stage.
How? they haven’t even built the product yet! — this is the exact same thought I got when I read it. But when I looked into it I realized that it is really useful and guess what? In my head, “Why not try it myself in the next project?” And that happened. There’s nothing better than a first-hand experience they say. Here’s how it went.
UX team worked with our marketing team to come up with a nice press release copy. As we were writing the copy, we envisioned how our target group would be excited to have our product, how would they give feedback on our product. And we made a description of it, a sample user feedback and a call to action of course. As a result of it, the problem we are solving is understood and the goals were set.
When writing the copy we made sure that we kept the copy as short as possible, less technical jargon and more of English. And we made a FAQ section too! We knew the copy is done when we too started feeling the excitement. Next, we resumed our normal process of designing a product with the research stage(design sprints, brainstorming sessions).
Why do I think adding this extra step to our product design process brought in value?
We see loads of useful products that are not getting sold like they deserve to be. If you look closely into those products, sometimes their marketing teams and product design teams have targeted different target groups. Sometimes the marketing team doesn’t have a clear idea on the value proposition of the product. Sometimes the UX team has the wrong focus. By working with the marketing team early on the UX process, we can tackle these kinds of mismatches.
At the end of the day, what matters is if we sell or not.
When we did the pitch to our own team(“internal” press release, remember?) we saw what makes the users excited to have the product from the responses from team members who didn’t know the product.
We could identify the delight factor more than just solving the problem. It saved the product being just a problem solver. It added a bigger value to it.
We found ourselves spending time talking about unwanted features in preliminary research stages. In such scenarios, we could validate our concerns with the press release copy and nip it in the bud without spending so much time and resources on building not so important features. The FAQ section of the press release copy helped a lot in narrowing down the focus.
In summary, just as understanding the requirements of the user, setting the expectations and delivering up to those expectations is important to build trust about the brand within users. Doing the internal press release is all about making sure that we don’t disappoint the users and also adding the delight they expect. Trust is one of the most important things to have as a brand. And an internal press release copy can be used as a reality check while building the product.
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