“Using Mental Models for Tactics and Strategy” webinar with Indi Young

Do you know about the new webinar series co-produced by Rosenfeld Media and Smart Experience called Future Practice? It’s a great new series with some of the best voices in user experience talking about how they see best practices turning into next practices.

The first webinar was “Modern Web Form Design with Luke Wroblewski” and you can see all of my tweets about it here. Today’s webinar was with the esteemed Indi Young, who wrote the book on mental models.

Check out my Twitter notes below, and stay tuned for upcoming webinars.

  • I’m Twittering from Indi Young’s webinar on “Using Mental Models for Tactics and Strategy” http://is.gd/baXO
  • Mental models: get beyond demographics, find out stories’ why, establish empathy to play their role, map out your support
  • Empathy = “Vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another” Strong enough to *play their role*
  • “Mental model for manipulating money has changed over time” — coins, paper notes, ATM cards — over 100s of years
  • Mental model for grocery shopping now is 1 big store where you can get everything. Used to be lots of diff, smaller stores
  • Still, part of the mental model has remained the same: the shopping list. MM has been shifted, added to, over time
  • Shopping for a house is done online, ads in paper, today. Lots of different mental spaces in the process of finding one
  • Finding likely houses: look @ ads, be on alert for sale signs, hear about sale from friend, find &get listings from realtor
  • But manner in which tasks performed is quite diff than how your grandparents would’ve done it. Links to maps, area data
  • Mental models are very stable. They don’t change very often. It’s a shift, an adjustment. MM will last you 10 years or more
  • Audience Q bout mental models for software buying. Indi says MM have been stable for past 10 years despite software changes
  • Tactics: how you accomplish an objective near term with the resources at hand. Plans, processes, methods, actions
  • Tactics: 1) Understand feature definitions, boundaries, relationships. Like a film vs. follow the industry. Different tasks
  • Another tactic that mental models can help you with is develop more meaningful personas. Helps to concentrate on behaviors
  • Sorry for the thin tweets. Indi is showing lots of examples, all visual. Very hard to put into words
  • Indi talking about using MMs to determine organization and nomenclature for navigation on a university website
  • Mental models can also be used to redesign workflow. Example of 1 meeting trying to do 4 things, MM let them recognize that
  • Another tactic for MM: restart a project or preserve momentum. MM isn’t gantt chart, but can be used to keep you on course
  • Some ppl using mental models to settle arguments on the team, influence stakeholders, show value of design team
  • Do MMs differ w culture? Indi wondering for years. In her research, found university scope is same globally. Otherwise diff
  • Now Indi is going into how mental models can help the strategy of a company
  • Strategy = “An approach you use to succeed over the long term.” ‘Glow the global forest’ NOT ‘which types of tree go where’
  • Strategy: Differentiate ourselves from our competitors. Indi going over example of co that used MM to change their approach
  • Strategy: change our business to meet customer behaviors. MM reveals what product really has to do well
  • Strategy: recognize inefficiencies (especially internal). Produce for least amount of cost.
  • Strategy: keep customers for the long haul. Indi citing @brandonschauer‘s Long Wow. “Plan and stage the wow experience”
  • Strategy: expand to new audience segments.
  • Best way to present a MM: tape it up around a conference room and point to them when issue brought up in conversation
  • Recap: Mental Models can be used for tactical and strategic reasons. Going to list them now…
  • Tactics: understand feature definitions/boundaries/relationships. Brainstorm features, improvements to support behavior…
  • …Decide what to skip/discard/do later. Prioritize what to do next. Develop more meaningful personas. Derive IA…
  • …Redesign workflow. Restart/preserve momentum. Focus team, distance arguments. Influence execs from perspective of design
  • Strategy: Differentiate ourselves from competitors. Change business to meet customer behavior. Recognize inefficiencies…
  • …Keep customers for the long haul. Expand to new audience segments.
  • Indi says mental models can vary in how long they take to produce, depends on depth of research. Start sketching ideas earl
  • That’s all folks. Thanks for listening! Webinar recording will be available soon. I’ll let you know where you can purchase
[A MASSIVE thanks to my dear friend Jonathan Knoll, a.k.a. @yoni, who wrote me a Twitter app called @whitneyhess’s Tweet-to-Blog to gather and reverse my “conference tweets” to be in chronological order. It’s an amazing piece of work, and took him no time to build. He’s genius. Feel free to use it.]

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