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Choose the best idea

27 September 2016

Our UX team wanted assurance they were about to tackle the juiciest idea in the social travel space. We conducted interviews, and came away with a fantastic problem - two viable ideas. How did we choose the best idea?

Identify a problem

We conducted a set of interviews to identify a problem, known as a "design challenge". It's an activity intended to explore user frustrations by using design thinking techniques.

The identified problem needs to be actionable; as it will serve as a reference point for determining the value of competing ideas throughout the project.

Design challenge statements should be focused on the needs of users, rather than the needs of the business.

Interview sessions

Interview session participants will be invited on the basis of an interest in travel. A wide net seems appropriate for an exploratory activity such as this one.

Participants will be interviewed about their travel experiences - especially for stories about unfortunate disasters and happy accidents while travelling. These topics represent situations which a traveller might wish to prevent or recover, or situations they would wish to encourage or repeat. Participants will be asked about the different modes of travel they’ve undertaken - leisure or business trips; solo, couple, or family trips. 

Participants will be asked to phrase their perceived ‘problem’ in the following form:

How can I [do something] so that [an outcome happens]

The second clause, in particular, seeks to shape their suggestions into an actionable form. Instead of merely expressing a gripe, participants should be able to suggest a desirable outcome.

Four sessions were conducted by the project team.

 

Results

Two ideas stood out:

  1. How can I present a “business case” for travel so I can quickly communicate a proposed plan to a partner/friend?
  2. How can I coordinate my plans with other solo travellers so I can have some company for the day?

The team now had two viable ideas to consider: 

  • Both ideas appear to be desirable (and therefore business-valuable) for travellers. 
  • Both ideas are interesting, based on our personal experiences of travel. 
  • The “business case” idea could appeal to a greater number of users. 
  • The “solo traveller” idea seems to be less complex and probably attainable within the project’s timeframe. 
  • The “business case” idea is sexier - initial ideation suggests multiple task models, multiple data sources, great user story divergence. 

The team spent half an hour ideating on the proposed ideas, tossing around explorations of how each problem might be solved.

We explored the basic definition of the goals for each idea, and the features which might support the goals. We took note of the apparent complexity of each feature.

Initial ideation also raised questions about whether the “solo traveller” idea might be preferred because it’s already familiar. It’s an idea which Dan has been casually considering for the past two months. His brain holds a bank of valuable insight and untested assumptions. The team will need to guard against untested assumptions. During direct questioning, Dan said he was totally prepared to walk away from “his” idea; he felt the “business case” idea was stronger from a monetisation angle and from a self-satisfaction angle. If the “solo traveller” idea went forward, it would be because it made the most sense for the team.

Ultimately, the team felt the project which was most likely to be attainable in the timeframe available would be the most valuable to pursue.