Designing for moments that matter

Designing for moments that matter

What is your magic moment?

This is the question that was posed at this year's Google Sprint Con. We were lucky enough to draw another invite to this small but growing event centred around the problem solving framework, The Design Sprint. This year did not disappoint, as we were treated again to more inspiring talks and sessions around cross cultural design, psychological biases, advanced facilitation, etc.

Though not entirely obvious, the overall theme of the conference was “Moments”. This was no better emphasized than through the morning keynote, Tom Chi, former Yahoo Exec, Google Xer and owner of a very sick ponytail. His practical approach to rapid problem solving is the embodiment of Design Thinking. He has that capability of making any other approach seem utterly ridiculous.

What stuck with all of us was his observation about the ride sharing industry. For the past year, I’ve been using anecdotes from Uber in my presentations, mainly as an example of a business that is a perfect microcosm of the entire technical landscape. However, Tom’s insights injected new life into my exhausted stories. If you think about it, what Uber didn’t do, was disrupt the actual car ride. For 99% of the experience, there is nothing strikingly different between an Uber and a traditional taxi ride. Both pick you up and transport you in a very similar type of car, and for the entirety of the ride, you may never know the difference. There’s actually nothing magical about this part of the so called ‘uber experience’.

"For 99% of the experience, there is nothing strikingly different between an Uber and a traditional taxi ride."

What Uber focused on, is where the real pain point existed, booking and paying. We’ve all been there. We know the pain of being on hold, wondering the cost, fighting over cabs, blindly waiting in the cold, and doing the ‘tip dance’ before you leave. That in fact, is just a sliver of time compared to the actual ride. But it proved to be their ‘magic moment’. This is maybe only 10-20 seconds of actual time, however, it’s what mattered most and what they were ultimately able to build their $120B valuation on. They leveraged all the available technologies, made them sing, and the world collectively got on board the Uber/Lyft train, and it appears, won’t be getting off anytime soon.

Consider mapping your customer journeys

So my question is: what’s your magic moment? Is your company focusing on the right part of the customer journey? What part of the experience really matters? Is there a point where a better designed solution will disrupt your industry? Or can you completely rewrite a stage in the process?

Tom Chi’s talk, only confirmed the importance of using journey maps to uncover the key steps to potentially expose your organization’s magic moment. Whether you’re a small retail business with a small footprint, a large institution with many on/offline touchpoints - your users all have a path that has a beginning and an end, and you should know them all, inside and out.