This time last year we decided to sponsor UX Bristol, which is an established annual event for anyone working, or looking to work in, User Experience. As a sponsor of the event, we had access to a stand and instead of giving away the usual sweets / keyrings / pens (as lovely as they all are) we wanted to give something away that:
- Was meaningful
- Was something people would actually use
- Represented our methodologies and ethos
- Allowed us to share the Edo brand
Inspiration as to where to start creating this product came from the musician Brian Eno. In the 1970’s Eno created a set of cards called Oblique Strategies to help him, and eventually many others, overcome creative block through lateral thinking. We started to think about whether we could create a similar set of cards, but specific to the type of projects we work on. We help organisations to gain a better understanding of their customers, and embed this thinking across their organisation. We wanted our cards to be a prompt to think about the user or customer throughout all decision making. When working on any project you can experience the ‘creative block’ Brian Eno was trying to break past, and can get stuck in a rut doing the things you are comfortable and familiar with. So we set about creating some prompts to take you away from the task and bring you back to the user.
To kick start the process of creation, we opened the task out to the whole team. We asked for suggestions of questions to ask yourself, to pivot your thinking when faced with a challenge or draw a blank. The response from the team was brilliant and was a true representation of how we work. Before we started to go through the ideas, we initially thought we’d have different sets that would correspond with different types of project e.g. discovery, creative, content. But when we started to whittle down the ideas we realised that the real nuggets of wisdom would be beneficial to all types, and stages, of a project. With this in mind, we ended up with a set of 30 prompts that we felt could really help keep user needs at the heart of everything we do.
A few of my favourites:
How would you explain it to your Nan?
This card reminds you to use jargon-free language. It encourages you to take a step back from the project you’re knee deep in and imagine explaining what you’re doing to someone who has never come across your client or their services, or isn’t fluent in the design language we often use without thinking.
Are you happy to fail in order to improve?
This card came from Al, our Head of Experience and mentor for Google’s Launchpad programme for startups. One of the biggest lessons that Al shares with startups through this programme is that failing is ok, and you can often learn more from failure than success. Being scared to fail often leads to trying to make a bad idea work, instead of stopping and acknowledging that something has to change. Let yourself fail, brush yourself off and move on.
What is the problem you're trying to solve?
This card is an important reminder at any stage of a project and within any discipline. It’s very easy to get carried away when we’re in full swing of the process of discovering and building, but it’s vital we always come back to the user’s needs and the problem we’re trying to solve. This one card really sums up our way of working here at Edo.
These are all part of the first iteration of Edo Insight Cards, they’re being tested and changed based on feedback.
If you would like a copy of our Edo Insight Cards, drop us a line and we’ll pop a pack in the post for you. We’d love to hear what you think!