I recently led a customer discovery bootcamp to validate the product hypothesis, identify the ideal customer profile (ICP), and get closer to the product-market fit. Through this bootcamp, we:
Project Introduction: This bootcamp was conduced for Wandr, a UX Design agency where I’ve been consulting full-time since the beginning of 2022. As a product strategist at Wandr, I was responsible for the project’s end to end execution. The client had a beta product, and the brief to the agency was to “improve the product’s buying flow”. We needed customer discovery to begin with and I've always enjoyed such projects.
Team: Although I was the primary lead on the project, I collaborated with Wandr’s product designer for this bootcamp. When I mention 'we' in this document, it refers to our collaborative efforts.
About the product: A sustainable art marketplace offering proof of purchase for digital art, without using the blockchain technology. The platform’s proprietary digital signature, along with a carbon offsetting certificate with every purchase, is the product’s key differentiator.
Problem/issue they are trying to solve: NFTs are the only way to securely buy digital art at the moment. But they come with high energy consumption. And since most NFTs are bought for speculative purposes, it leads to trust issues. The product addresses these two concerns, and enables purchasing digital art responsibly.
Guiding design question for the bootcamp: How might we identify the user group 1(early adopters) and design a user centered solution that delivers both business and customer value.
Timeline: 5 weeks
Process Overview: Design Thinking Workshop > UX Audit > User Research > JTBD > Wireframes > Testing > Hi-fi design delivery
Proposed solution: Customer discovery guided the product strategy we delivered. The strategy defined the ideal customer’s persona, user flows, and designs for the version 1.
Time: The biggest constraint for a bootcamp is time. In this case, the original project timeline was four weeks, but a week was added after the project kicked-off. The extra week was added because recruitment from the client’s user database was taking longer than expected.
Brand colours: Though the detailed brand guidelines didn’t exist, we worked with the brand colours for the UI design.
Competitive Research: The client shared the extensive research on the digital art landscape done by their team. This helped us understand the business of digital art, and the product’s positioning.
Industry white papers: We got access to some NFT white papers which analyzed NFTs, their audience, and the future outlook. These white papers were helpful when arriving at the product’s primary audience.
During the design thinking workshop, the product team shared the following potential personas.
These personas will be validated through user research.
Since this was a customer discovery bootcamp
Through user interviews, we confirmed the primary target audience for the product, as well as the primary job (JTBD) they’ll hire the product for. These discoveries shaped the product’s design ideation going forward.
The persona we arrived at was ‘Digital Art Collectors’ - they are interested in digital art, but despise NFTs. This persona and their motivations were quite different from what the client envisioned in proto personas.
Feedback and iterations: Two versions of the homepage and the buyer’s journey were tested with ‘Digital Art Collectors’. Based on the feedback from users, the following iterations were made to the high fidelity designs:
Embrace uncertainty: Having worked with startups and founders over the years, I’m quite comfortable with ambiguity. But I saw my product designer struggle with uncertainty, it led to a lot more alignment calls than I envisioned.
The bootcamp was quite abstract to begin with, but I was able to continuously define the scope, while keeping the project moving forward, and aligning the stakeholders.
Focus on the user problem: Time for another UX cliché - people don’t buy your product, they buy solution(s) to their problems. We unlocked the JTBD for the product through user research, enabling us to make informed design decisions. The users certainly noticed these features during the testing and left great feedback. That’s design thinking in one paragraph 🙂
The ‘how’ matters: Most product marketing is focused on the ‘what’ but misses out on the ‘how’. For example, 'What does the product do?’ or ‘What are the use-cases?’ is mostly covered in communication, but ‘How does the product do it?’ is equally important.
In the context of this project, ‘how will the digital signature work without blockchain? And ‘how will the carbon offsets allocation work?’ were questions that came up consistently during the user testing.
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