There are three design thinking techniques that provide specific, focused, and weighted feedback for anything you might be redesigning. And a big point: You’ll just need three hours.
Use The Speedboat as a group/team focalized and guided critique activity. It helps understand the main pain points of the current solution, and then prioritize or weigh them.
- Start by drawing a speedboat in a whiteboard or a map. The boat represents our product, app, or system, so we put its name on it.
- Explain to the group that the boat’s goal is to go as fast as possible. But… it seems like there are some anchors slowing it down.
- Give every participant six stickers and a thick pen. Give them seven minutes to write the six anchors (pain points) that they think that are slowing down the boat. No extra rules. This simple.
- When the time is up ask every one of them to stand up and explain which they think the main anchors are, and why.
You’ve just discovered their pains, but users have suffered from them for a long long time. They’ve probably already been thinking and talking about solutions. And this information is gold for you because it won’t be the final solution, but it will definitely show you how users think and what they consider a solution to their problem.
4x4x4 is a group guided brainstorming activity designed to focus on a single issue.
- Choose the pain point or issue that you’ll attempt to solve.
- Give every participant four blank cards and a thick pen. Give them four minutes to generate four possible solutions to the issue.
- When the time is up, group the participants in pairs, because the playoff is about to start. Give every pair four minutes to choose just four of the eight cards they have now, and discard the other ones.
- When the time’s up, make groups of four participants and again, give them four minutes to decide which of the eight they have they want to keep. Just like a playoff.
Buy a feature
The buy a feature activity is a weighting and prioritizing group activity that will help you make selection in a more reliable way—and it’ll save you effort.
- Before the user group session, start listing all of your new ideas, features, concepts, and give each of them a price regarding its complexity.
- Now print fake money—something like Monopoly money that makes users feel like they’re playing a serious game.
- During the session, make user groups and give each group some fake money—but not enough to buy all of the new stuff, obviously. A good ratio is to aim that they can purchase 50 percent of the features.
- Give them seven minutes to decide which features they want to buy with their money. When they’re done, or the time is up, ask them to get to the “shop” (that’s you) to buy their features. Take their money, and deliver a sticker with the feature name to them. Ask them to stick it in a map.
People have a deep sense of cost and savings, about what’s worth it and what isn’t, and what deserves investment and what not. And all of it comes to light in this purchase list.
This is real info. This is where your real discussion starts. Explore with the group (directly) why those have been purchased, and why others weren’t. You’ll not only understand your users better, but you’ll be able to make a proper selection.
Imagine you include the previous activities in a single workshop with eight users. In less than three hours you’ll get the main pain points, some curated ideas that users believe solve their main issues, and a reliable prioritization about what should come next in your product and maybe a product strategy plan. And a better and deeper understanding of the users relationship with your product/app/system.
All this in just three hours.