Hypothesis driven design: workshop part 2

by Chris

Collaborative design

Hypothesis driven design (HDD) is a way of applying user research and experimentation to validate design choices that are outcome focused and not output focused. Please have a look at ‘Hypothesis driven design: workshop part 1’ for more information about HDD.

Collaborative design is a crucial stage in the process. It allows teams to create design concepts together and help build shared understanding and joint ownership of the design problem and solutions.

Key principles:

  • Everybody gets to design through cross-functional collaboration
  • Low-fidelity prototypes increase collaboration
  • Shared understanding across the team

Workshop part 2

We are aware there are problems with the main navigation menu (mega-menu) on The National Archives’ website. We’ve had feedback from users that the menu is often missed and Google analytics even suggests the click rate is low. For the workshop we decided to use the mega-menu to test run hypothesis driven design.

Following the previous workshop, we had three assumptions:

  1. The mega-menu is hidden, if we make the top level items visible users will be more likely to use it.
  2. The mega-menu is overwhelming, if we make it easier to digest then users will be more likely to find what they are looking for.
  3. The mega-menu content is not user focused, if we design the content to reflect user journeys, then users will be more likely to find what they are looking for.

Which then formed our three hypotheses:

Hypothesis 1

Changing the current mega-menu
to a mega-menu where the top level menu items are visible
will lead to more users interacting with the menu
because it’s no longer hidden behind a button,
and we’ll know that this is true when we see a higher click rate.

Hypothesis 2

Changing the current mega-menu
to a new menu structure where we see fewer menu items at a time
will lead to more users feeling not so overwhelmed
because fewer choices are easier to scan and digest,
and we’ll know that this is true when we see positive feedback from users.

Hypothesis 3

Changing the current mega-menu information architecture
to a new structure that reflects user journeys
will lead to more users finding what they need easier
because the menu is user focused and not how we organise ourselves,
and we’ll know that this is true when we see positive feedback from users.

Review assumptions, hypotheses and metrics

The first step was to review the work from the previous workshop. Are the assumptions still valid? Have we chosen the correct metrics? Do we need to rework the hypothesis?

For the first hypothesis, the group decided that click rate alone wasn’t enough to measure success. We would also need to consider the bounce rate once the user has clicked through.

It was also identified that a benchmark would be needed. If users struggle to find what they need because they are overwhelmed by the amount of content or the IA doesn’t reflect their expectations, then we’d need to user test the current mega-menu and compare the results with the new prototype.

Collaborative design studio

A design studio scenario is a way to bring a cross-functional team together to visualise potential solutions to a design problem.

There are a number of ways to approach the design studio process. For example Lean UX proposes a number of specific techniques. Within our workshop we naturally fell into the following steps:

  1. Group idea generation
  2. Paper prototyping
  3. Iterate and refine
  4. Presentation and critique

We divided into three groups, one for each hypothesis. Each group discussed possible solutions and created a paper prototype, low-fidelity sketches or wireframes. Paper prototypes are useful to maintain flexibility, which allows the team to respond quickly to user feedback whilst testing.

What’s next?

Workshop part 3 will cover iterative processes, user testing to validate each hypothesis and analysing feedback.