The Tryptic of UX Discovery


Over the last year I have been tasked to partner with our Design Thinking team in an effort to better understand their processes and how to best align them to our UX delivery. In that effort I have collaborated with both teams and what I have come up with a repeatable process that uses what I have called “The Tryptic of UX Discovery”.

The tryptic consists of personas, user journeys, and a two-by-two matrix. All of these are common discovery techniques shared by UX and Design Thinking. Together they thoughtfully combine to provide our clients with a vision of their current issues and a plan on how we will address the solution.

We start by thoroughly researching our clients current systems, user interactions, and financial feasibility. Basically the Design Thinking tenants of Desirability, Viability, and Feasibility–in other words we research if the users are looking for changes, does it meet the Business’s expectations, and are they technologically mature enough to advance the efforts.

The process involves the research and creation of personas aimed at representing the specific users of the solution, developing user journeys to define user-centric views of the existing/proposed process, and road-mapping the proposed innovations based on affordability and effort.

Personas. We begin our research to expose those users who will be interacting with the system and who will be most affected by our proposed improvements. We then create personas of the selected representational users. Instead of coming to our first meeting with a blank persona template, we involve our research teams from our Far East Studio to develop “straw-man” personas. This provides us with the ability to create highly visual yet editable personas which act as accelerators for client participation. It is much easier and time efficient to edit rather than create.

User Journeys. Collaborating with our clients we then choose personas and processes that we feel will provide the greatest opportunity for innovation. Mapping out a “day-in-the-life” of a user interacting with the system provides us with all the touch points and data needed to discover opportunities for improvement. Each touchpoint aligns to the user, their environment, and exposes their empathy in performing the selected task. In turn, this information aligns to selected technology and creates opportunities for innovation.

Two-by-two Matrix. Once the opportunities for innovation are exposed it’s time to deep-dive into the technological feasibility of bringing these innovations to life. Sitting down with our architects, we collaborate to map out the proposed innovations and the feasibility (based on technology maturity and costs) and provide our clients with a roadmap for completion. Working together with our clients we assess those innovations that are lowest hanging fruit, those that can be combined, and those that are more complex and expensive (e.g., hardware solutions, data conversions, enterprise realignments, etc.). The goal is to quickly provide a win-win delivery in the beginning that builds confidence and a roadmap to further innovation successes in the future.

Our teams have found great success using this process and it has been beneficial in both large and small engagements. The key success factors center on the alignments to a user-focused, business-aligned, and technology feasible solutions developed in collaboration between all the disciplines (e.g., users, business and technology).

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