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Use Tactical Goal-Setting to Design the Right Thing

Use Tactical Goal-Setting to Design the Right Thing

I gave this talk at Midwest UX 2015.

Pen to paper, mouse to wireframe, or keyboard to code — when it’s time to render your ideas, how can you be sure you’re designing the right thing?

By setting design goals early and agreeing on them with the people involved, you can be confident you’re solving the right problem. Later, when you present your work, you have a framework for explaining your decisions.

Michael J. Metts

October 02, 2015

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  1. Tactical Goal-Setting Designing the Right Thing michael j. metts |

    @mjmetts | mjmetts.com Slides need narrative, so I’ll scatter notes like this throughout the presentation to give you a sense of what I was saying during the talk.
  2. Who do you design with? michael j. metts | @mjmetts

    | mjmetts.com We design in a lot of contexts: agencies, internal teams, etc. The common factor is that we always design along with other people.
  3. michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com Project timeline Sometimes

    design projects can be disappointing. As we get design feedback, we have to alter our designs more and more.
  4. michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com Project timeline When

    we establish goals and agree on them with our stakeholders, the design process can be shorter and less painful.
  5. michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com There’s an ancient

    story about six blind men standing around an elephant. They each have a different perspective to offer. This is what it’s like to design something with other people. Everyone brings a unique perspective to the table.
  6. Who’s designing the experience? michael j. metts | @mjmetts |

    mjmetts.com Often, we’re concerned with who is designing the user experience itself, with sketches, prototypes, code, etc.
  7. Who’s designing the design process? michael j. metts | @mjmetts

    | mjmetts.com However, we can (and should) apply our design abilities to the design process itself.
  8. michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com Project timeline When

    you’re close to the end of one of these projects that isn’t working so well, you realise that it’s actually an elephant. It’s bigger than you thought, and there are many perspectives you didn’t account for.
  9. A goal-setting framework michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com

    Design goals What problem do we want to solve? Communication goals What do we want the customer to know? Business goals What do we want to achieve? Here’s a simple framework I use with stakeholders. The categories for feedback are tailored to the team.
  10. Use the element of surprise michael j. metts | @mjmetts

    | mjmetts.com This doesn’t have to be a big, formal thing. Pull it out during a meeting and use it tactically.
  11. Make sure everyone feels heard michael j. metts | @mjmetts

    | mjmetts.com The whole point of this exercise is to understand stakeholder concerns and design to address them. Make sure everyone feels heard and understood. Change the categories if necessary.
  12. Keep it quick michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com

    The great thing about this method is that you don’t have to add much time to the project or feel like you’re backing things up. Keep the goal-setting process quick.
  13. Goals should be: michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com

    - Clear and actionable - Descriptive, not prescriptive - Agreed on by the whole team A goal that’s actionable should a thing you can do. “Sell more things” isn’t actionable. Don’t prescribe design solutions like “make the button bigger.” Everyone has to agree.
  14. Sample business goal michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com

    “Sell more subscriptions!” Here’s a sample business goal for a freemium SaaS product. It’s not terribly descriptive or actionable. Why do we want to sell more subscriptions? What kinds of subscriptions do we want to sell?
  15. Sample business goal michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com

    “Sell more of our mid-tier subscription plan.” This is better. We believe the mid=tier plan is valuable and we want our customers to enjoy it.
  16. Sample business goal michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com

    “Find more ways to draw attention to our mid-tier plan.” This is even better. A designer can’t directly sell more things, but they can find ways to make those things easier to find, understand, and purchase.
  17. Let’s get to it! michael j. metts | @mjmetts |

    mjmetts.com Time for a stakeholder meeting! We went through this really fast in the workshop, but the length can be tailored to your audience.
  18. Stage one: Capture michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com

    - Share your goals - Make sure everyone agrees - Keep goals clear and actionable - Don’t prescribe design changes - Facilitator records them
  19. Stage two: Prioritize michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com

    - Decide which goals are absolutely necessary - Limit yourself to no more than three primary goals Making tough choices is hard, but it’s also rewarding. Give your designer clear direction for what needs to be done.
  20. Recap michael j. metts | @mjmetts | mjmetts.com This tactical

    exercise has three main benefits: - Your designer gets clarity for they should design - Your stakeholders feel heard and accommodated - You can use the goals to evaluate the design and make sure it’s doing its job