The definition of visioning involves "the development of a plan, goal, or vision for the future." The actual process of how this is done is completely up to the team and the project. In the case of our MHCI Capstone for Bank of America, when we wrapped our research phase of our project in the spring we wrapped with a 45-minute presentation to faculty, students and our clients. Immediately afterwards we jumped into a visioning session with two members of our client team, beginning with a sit down Q & A. From there, I lead a structured an ideation session around three key activities, each one with a separate goal that would move us from research into the design and build phase. Ultimately, the session proved so fruitful that nearly every other Capstone team copied our same methodology (partly because we did our presentation before everyone else). Here’s what we did:
Goal: Tackle the problem space
- Details: Before we can design we need to understand what the problem is, and if everyone on our team and the client agrees that this is what the problem is.
- Method: Round Robin. Everyone folds a sheet of letter-sized paper into quarters and spends two minutes writing what they think the problem is, then passes it to their left. The next person writes a solution to that problem. Pass again, the next person critiques that problem. Pass again, the next person writes a solution to the critique. The last couple turns typically take 3-4 to allow time for reading and response. Then everyone takes turns reading the last paper in their hands.
- What we learned: Building trust and value, dealing with context in decision making, and helping users understand their future selves and their future needs were the biggest areas to design for.
Goal: Brainstorm as many ideas as possible without considering constraints
- Details: Understand what kinds of platforms might use from a tech perspective and what kinds of people we’re designing for from a UX perspective
- Method: Creative Matrix. Draw an x-axis for different user types we might design for, let everyone yell out options until you have 5-6. On the y-axis list different platforms you might use, again let everyone yell out options. Then count people off and divide into pairs, get sticky notes and a marker and spend the next 15 minutes adding concepts to the matrix cells, for instance a mobile app for gamblers. At the end we read them all, everyone gets green stickers to vote, and we discuss.
- What we learned: People got excited about empathy building using VR technology for people better understand their finances, tools for power users that allow them to access big potential financial gains, and ways to simplify financial decision making to its most basic level.
Goal: Consider the value we hope to deliver to the customer
- Details: Ultimately we want to make a transformative product, but in order to do that we need to understand what the benefit is to the end user, both tangible and intangible.
- Method: Draw an Ad. This individual activity involved spending 5 minutes sketching a better future for BofA’s core customer in the form of an ad.
- What we learned: The biggest concern for the client was delivering a financial future without worry. Beyond that (as if that’s no small feat), building trust and empathy by connecting customers with technology, and easing the tedious burden of tracking finances.
This was a really fun and fascinating session. We usually talk to our clients for 30 minutes a week, so getting to sit down and get our hands dirty with chalk and marker as a group for two hours provided a rare opportunity to pick their brains. Additionally, it helped foster a super collaborative atmosphere by giving everyone permission to play, ask questions, and speak up in ways that they might not otherwise. I came ready with questions of my own, and kept things running at a pace where no one had a chance to get bored, but still had enough time to think. Plus, even people who spend most of their work day in the corporate world of meetings and emails love a chance to bust out some Mr. Sketch scented markers and make things.