Data, like milk, is best consumed fresh; the longer we take to analyze it, the more likely we are to lose the thread that connects it to its original meaning.
If you aren’t the geek who took notes in every.single.class, this post will bore you. I am reading on up on a couple of topics these days and thought to share as I go. You’ll find excerpts from Jan Chipchase’s book “Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers” above and below this paragraph. Have yet to get the book, getting by on this article posted on Co.Design until I do.
If there’s such a thing as a default framework in corporate research, it’s the customer journey map, which provides detailed information about each event in a customer’s typical day, diagrams how she moves from one event to another, and identifies all the touchpoints where she may use the product or service we’re designing.
Going in deeper…
There are numerous alternatives to the customer journey map, but there is one in particular, less commonly used but phenomenally useful when applied skillfully, that can bring the diffuse spectrum of almost any human behavior into focus: the threshold map.
Threshold mapping allows us to map out “default” conditions—the normal state a person experiences a majority of the time (for example, most people feel clean enough throughout the day that they won’t drop whatever they’re doing and hop in the shower if it’s available)—and then understand what happens when a person crosses the line into an alternative condition. Often, the feelings that people experience as they approach or cross a threshold lead them to think and act differently.
This example from Chipchases’s book on Hannah Hatkin’s blog mentions the need for a shower and a cleanliness threshold:
Many people feel clean for about a day and therefore do not have the urge to shower more than every 24 hours. In this case, a day would be the threshold. If this person, with a threshold of a day, goes three days without showering, she has crossed her cleanliness threshold and will most likely think and act differently until she gets back into her normal state by taking a shower.
Thoughts: So what does this have to do with user experience design? Good question! Understanding user thresholds provide a significant window into user decision-making. When a user researcher understands why and how someone performs an action, she can create better experiences based on those decision patterns.