So hopefully you all enjoyed last week’s tweets about Addition’s recent “meeting” with Santa Claus to discuss a Digital Product to help Saint Nick undergo Digital Transformation.
Now, obviously, this wasn’t real … but some of the activities we undertake most definitely are a real part of digital product design…
Digital Transformation through Digital Products
Digital Transformation is much talked about at the moment. Many of our clients are at different stages along the path to “digital transformation”, there are a plethora of articles out there espousing the benefits of it and what it means to various organisations.
Digital transformation is by its nature disruptive — it challenges business models and processes. It requires intensive focus on customer value. We see digital products as sitting at the heart of this transformation because they offer the ability to ring-fence specific audiences and scenarios, then deliver the best experience to meet or exceed people’s needs at the same time as fulfilling organisational objectives.
The product design process also requires the product studio to work closely and collaboratively with the client and also the user base in order to create a successful product. For instance, when Addition is making online fundraising products for our charity clients, we co-design the product with both fundraising stakeholders and donors to understand what will work for them.
Although the end goal is usually to produce a product, there’s a whole research piece that goes before that to ensure that we create the right solution for the problem that the client has asked us to answer.
This research involves a whole host of User Experience activities — ranging from traditional paper and pen prototypes, coffee shop testing, user interviews through to device responsive wireframes tested with real users.
The end result is an html prototype, iterated to a point that the client is assured that the product is viable (or in some cases not) and ready to move into the design and development phase.
Back to Santa
Since it’s Christmas, the Addition team thought it’d be fun to imagine what Digital Transformation would look like for Santa. In our Christmas campaign, we obviously didn’t get to the point of creating any prototypes of products — as fun as that would’ve been, we’re just too busy creating them for our real clients! But what we did do was mocked up a workshop scenario where we looked how we could respond to Santa’s brief of wishing to undergo a Digital Transformation via a Digital Product (or Products).
As well as looking at the project from a UX angle we also applied some Design Thinking — in simplistic terms: taking the problem and approaching it from the perspective of a designer — an approach our Creative Director Stewart has been championing to run alongside our UX activities and our agile/lean development methodology.
In reality what we ended up with was a white board full of potential ideas based around the main purpose of Santa i.e. to deliver presents. We explored the who, what, when, why and how this occurs and what we ended up with ideas that ranged from a Tinder style ‘naughty or nice’ list, using drones for delivery and even creating partnerships with the Easter Bunny and Cupid!
We also had some fun around using personas, creating some fake personas that included naughty kids — think Home Alone — and elves — Dobby from Harry Potter & Legolas for Lord of the Rings were thrown in for good measure!
On a serious note personas are something we use throughout projects at various stages. I’m sure you all know about this approach and have created them many times. But rather than gather some information from the client, then go away, write them up and present them, using a tactile workshop format (they involve a lot of cutting and sticking; blu tac, sharpies and scissors) really helps clients get into the mindset of the user more because it’s engaging and fun, and makes the user challenges more memorable — very helpful for later in the design process when decisions are being made about the actual shape of the product. If you haven’t done it this way before, we’d recommend giving it a try.
Inspired by this tactile approach we also now encourage clients to take a similar approach in the early stages of the creative process; mocking up home page concepts using assets from their brand and other sources really engages them in the creative process itself and gives the Addition designers an insight into what the client is looking for — much more so than reading a Creative Brief document!
And that’s not all…
One of the things that excites about the world of digital is how it never stands still and we’re constantly devouring articles and books on a wide range of subjects that impact on our thinking and approach. Here’s a few of our recent favourites:
The 7 Factors that Influence User Experience
The blurring between Design Thinking and Agile
Makeover Mania: Inside the 21st-Century craze for redesigning everything
When ‘agile’ methods lead to poor design
Cultural Essentials for Digital Transformation
Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days
Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
Scrum: a Breathtakingly Brief and Agile Introduction
How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the Art and Science of Persuasion and Motivation
Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion
Perhaps we can help you in 2017?
We hope you enjoyed our little bit of Christmas fun and are inspired by the idea of building some Design Thinking into your plans for next year.
With over 15 years’ experience in the charity sector, first as digital agency Chameleon and now as the digital product studio Addition (part of integrated marketing agency WPN Chameleon) we have worked with some of the biggest charities in the UK . Over the last few years, Addition has made some brilliantly effective Digital Products for Macmillan Cancer Support, NSPCC, British Heart Foundation, Alzheimer’s Society, UNESCO and others.
So if you have Digital Product need or want to know how Addition can support in an ongoing Digital Transformation process, please get in touch by contacting us on 020 7332 6360, firstname.lastname@example.org or addition.london.
We look forward to hearing from you in the New Year. In the meantime, Merry Christmas!