Don't ask users for input. (Just kidding!)
Well, kind of. This week, Justin challenges you to look outside the box of how you've traditionally asked for input regarding technology. He breaks down how to request feedback, who you should pursue for feedback, and how a twist on tradition will yield better, brighter, and more streamlined results.
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You should not ask users for input on system design. Okay, I'm just kidding. You should ask. But you probably shouldn't do it the way you have in the past. Let me tell you a quick story from a few years ago. I met some guys one time from a large multi-billion dollar company who were in the design phase for a new solution for the field. The field guys were currently writing information on paper and bringing the data back to the office for input into a spreadsheet. They saw this was time-consuming, so the team asked the guys in the field, "What can we do to make this process better?" Of course, the guys in the field said, "Just give us a tablet with a spreadsheet app and we'll input the data in the field."
What's wrong with this? Well, I'll give you a hint. Spreadsheets are a really bad idea on tablets when workers are standing and using tools. This would've been better than what they had before, perhaps, but it was a far cry from an optimal solution. That's just one example, but it describes how users are sometimes so focused on the problem and their first-hand frustrations that they don't necessarily offer the best input. Let's face it, they're experts in their role, which probably isn't digital system design. This means the user's frame of reference is limited. Most of the time I see users asking for the manual tasks to be digitized. If we could do this inspection in the app, we could eliminate a lot of follow up work. That's great, but what if we could eliminate the need for the inspection? What if someone else inspected that unit last week and we don't even need to do it for another 90 days?
When we ask questions of the existing users at the task level, we miss the broader opportunity to optimize the entire flow of data. That means we're probably missing even larger benefits to the first line workers and the business. Sometimes the best approach is to engage someone without intimate knowledge, even an outside team, to review the process as that exists today. You'll find they'll ask many more why questions, because they won't be encumbered by historical knowledge. This helps to expand the conversation and really dissect the overall process. Once that's been laid out well, then it's time to rethink the solution design and get back to the conversation about the best way to accomplish the intended outcomes.
Let me summarize. We need to start with the business objectives. What are we trying to accomplish, and more importantly, why are those objectives even important? Then open the discussion with the first line workers about the process to collect insights from the field. This combination in this order will yield far better results and usually save unnecessary spend on unimportant digital capabilities. We've got lots more information on digital evolution on our website. Come check us out. Or feel free to reach out directly if you have any questions at all. Thanks for watching and we'll see you again next week.
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