Run, Walter, RUN!!!

A friend posted this video on Facebook; I love how much Walter (the dog) loves the water. What I also love is being able to see the run to the beach from Walter’s perspective. It’s a great ad for GoPro – which got me thinking. At User Insight, talking to people is what we do. The video gave me a great idea.

I always dread mingling at an event at my daughter’s school because the question, “What do you do?” inevitably rears it’s head at some lull in conversation. I wade in slowly, start with, “I talk to people about experiences and try to make them better.”

Blank stare from the Neurosurgeon, feigned interest from the Lawyer, furrowed brow from the Corporate Executive, trying to put me in some known box. I sip my Pinot and persevere… “We gather feedback and design better experiences.” An uplifted brow and nod of understanding, “Ah, you’re a designer!”

“Yes, but also…”

Too late, I’m already placed. We move on to the next topic, the new gym.

Last week I tried a different tactic. I pulled out my Walter video and played it. We both laughed. I in turn said, “At my company we watch people do everyday things, like Walter running to the beach, I watch their experiences and look for opportunities to make them better.”

Wait for it… “That’s pretty cool! Hey, Jim, have you seen this video?”

I must have played it half a dozen times that night. People may not understand everything that I do but after watching the video they made a connection with Walter’s love for water and it was a great intro for me to put into context what I do as a UX Researcher at User Insight.

That’s what we do for our clients as well. In order to create change within an organization, we need to start by building empathy and understanding. Watching Users interact with a product or interface is the most effective way to build that common ground. When we start any work with a client, I encourage them to bring as many people as possible with them to watch interviews of people using their product.

Unfortunately, not everyone can watch User sessions BUT everyone can see through their Users’ eyes. We’ve found the most effective way to put someone in their user’s shoes is to amplify the User’s voice. We do that by retelling the person’s story – who doesn’t love to hear a good story?

A story is impactful and memorable but the real power comes when you see multiple people from different walks of life have the same problem, uniting an organization around the idea: “If you solve this problem, you will make your product better for all of them.”