Understanding Your Audience

Happy audience applauding speaker at business conference

The Ultimate Solution Experience™ - uSX Part 4

In our first 3 posts, we introduced the Ultimate Solution Experience™; described how to define your purpose, business needs vs requirements, and measures for success; and we defined the roles of your team.  The next step is to understand who your team really is and who they will working with during the engagement.

Success following the principles of the Ultimate Solution Experience (uSX) greatly depend on all of the parties involved and their understanding of purpose and responsibilities during engagement.

Who is Your REAL Audience

Knowing the customer, their culture, their previous experiences, and that of their team members is as important as knowing your own team.  Maybe more so.  Here are the things we need to consider:

  1. Who is the Real Audience for the solution and what is their involvement in the delivery cycle? And at what level of involvement do they have at each stage of the delivery?
  2. Have they ever been apart of a solution delivery experience such as this one?
  3. What is the demographic and psychographic mix or personal and cultural attributes?
  4. What is the audience’s expectations about the outcome to be delivered?
  5. How the audience will use the solution?
  6. What are the acceptance hurdles the audience will have to overcome? Will they be challenged by the technology used? Will new processes and procedures be a significant impact?

You may find your solution will serve a number of audiences.  If so, you may want to break your audience up into categories, i.e., stakeholder, business owner, technical owner, end user, solution support, etc. Each group will have their own needs for a positive solution experience and each group should be addressed. Write down what you know about each group and their needs which will be your “As-Is”. Then, compile the ultimate outcome, the “To-Be” and build your gap analysis. You will then be able to fill in the gaps with direct conversation with the audience.

A Human-Centered Approach

In an environment where you need to deliver a high degree of customer satisfaction through a pleasurable solution experience, a human-centered approach is important to achieve the desired outcome.

9 touch points to consider:

  1. Focus on the human aspects of the solution, technology is not the ultimate objective
  2. Seek insights into the human and technology experiences in their day-to-day environment
  3. Seek insights into their definition of success and how to your team can hit this mark
  4. Seek insights into typical risks and mitigation which may occur
  5. Business needs and personal needs are interdependent
  6. Look at all stakeholders across functions
  7. Directly involves the cross functional user teams the solution is designed to satisfy
  8. The process will be iterative and will converge on the ultimate proper outcome
  9. Target who needs to know what during the process and what is the communication plan

By designing in the human-centered approach, your likelihood for a pleasurable outcome dramatically improves. Experience shows us that most solutions are not designed this way. Many solutions are driven as a direct response to a specific business driver or market need or as a result of quantitative insights on industry trends.

Develop Empathy Through Engagement

Part of your initial decision process is how you plan to engage your audience. If you need to gather additional requirements beyond what you have, what is the best way to accomplish the task? Your goal is to view the problem from your customer’s perspective, see it through their eyes, and walk in their shoes. You have to show this level of empathy to gain the ultimate success.

You can accomplish this with some basic research on similar projects completed either in their company or other industry information, easily gathered from some basic research (“Paging Doctor Google, Doctor Google, to the office.”). Occasionally, you may find a white paper or business school case written on the topic. There’s no shame in learning form others. You don’t have time to invent the wheel.

Take a tour of the current environment. This may be a physical environment you are designing for or it may be a technology solution environment. Get in the drivers’ seat and feel what they feel, see what they see, and understand what the new outcome should be and then chart the path to the uSX strategy. It may sound simple, but you need to get inside the problem to see the way out.

Discuss the political and business forces surrounding the project. These issues may range from market trends, financial forecasts and limited budgets to lack of thought leadership, and political infighting. Identify both the inherent problem areas and opportunities for innovation.

Without empathy, products and solutions never achieve the established goal and end up effectively useless to the customer. Developing empathy through engagement for the customer is one of the most complex challenges in designing the uSX strategy.

Stay tuned, we've got a lot more to come:

In our next post on The Ultimate Solution Experience™, we’ll discuss how to gather requirements and the different approaches we’ve found successful.

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