Eric had a lot of great ideas, but it was unclear exactly what the core problem was that he was looking to solve.
Eric has developed medical software as well as co-founded a software business. He is now in full pursuit of creating a digital product that will help people work towards their happiness. He calls it, "Committed."
What started out as a request to work on an on-boarding process of a current iteration, turned into a focus on questioning, doing research and clarifying this project’s direction.
What I Did
- Client Mentorship
- Discover Product Niche
- Consider Business Strategy
- Define a Value Proposition
- User Interviews
- Expert Interviews
- Create Project Roadmap
- 4 weeks
- 10 hours per week
A desire to help others, but no clearly defined goal.
Initially, Eric asked me to help with an on-boarding process for what he had already created. Eric's current prototype asks people to log their daily goals and reflects back if they are acting in accordance with their values. There was no explanation as to why the user was prompted to write their values in the first place though and Eric was not sure how to display data he gathered from said user. There were a lot of holes both in concept and execution.
No strategy for making money.
Eric did not plan on this project making money unless people found it valuable.
To get us focused, I asked Eric to write out the problem that he was aiming to solve as well as a, “How might we question."
Define the Problem:
"The majority of the people in our demographic find themselves aimless and unsure of what things bring them fulfillment / happiness. This can lead to a lot of trial and error and a general feeling of emptiness and aimlessness."
How might we...
"...help these individuals to better understand the things in life which bring them happiness / fulfillment and support them in the pursuit of that happiness?"
I noticed immediately that Eric was assuming that people do not know what makes them happy and brings fulfillment and also that this causes a sense of aimlessness. I warned Eric that we did not want to design based off of assumption.
I conducted user interviews to validate those assumptions Eric made as well as compile qualitative information that could inform ideation, adaption to an app and further iterations.
After I synthesized my findings from the interviews, I saw that people had at least an idea of what could make them happy and all had a direction they were taking in their life.
The user's problem was not in understanding what will bring happiness, but rather in the effort required to make that happiness a reality.
With major assumptions now invalidated, we met and talked further about what direction made sense. I repeated ideas and options back to him and encouraged him to be black and white about his focus.
Eric decided to focus on designing and developing an app that aids talk therapists' clients' personal journey. It will support therapists that utilize Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) in their process.
- ACT supports his belief in living a life in alignment with one's values.
- I helped him identify a business niche in providing an app specifically for these talk therapists, because the current options are very limited and not updated regularly.
By interviewing talk therapists about their knowledge and experience, I more quickly gathered valuable insights about the target users-- their clients.
I excitedly spoke with experts to better understand ACT, how they utilize it with their clients and how an app can support their process.
I identified patterns within the therapists’ answers that lead to insights that will inform the ideation phase. The therapists answers will be super helpful for generating feature ideas.
With the end of my time commitment at hand, I provided Eric with a roadmap of prioritized steps to take along with all of my organized interview notes and insights for reference for the ideation phase to come. These materials will allow him to confidently move forward in designing his app.
Eric was receptive to what I thought.
Instead of being stubborn and demanding that I do what he initially requested, I was able to spend my time helping him clarify his vision and conduct interviews that informed what direction to take. He now has a solid foundation from which he can explore, design and develop.