Thursday, November 30, 2023

Journey mapping tips from Tony Fadell, the father of iPod

Journey mapping is one of my favorite tools to capture customer, employee, partner’s experience journey and identify gaps to enhance it further. Tony Fadell, the father of iPod, has given excellent tips on how he and his team at Nest used journey mapping for experience design in his book “Build: An unorthodox guide to making things worth making”. Here is an attempt to capture some of Fadell’s tips related to journey mapping.

“You should be able to map out and visualize exactly how a customer discovers, considers, installs, uses, fixes, and even returns your product. It all matters,” Fadell says in the book. When people come to him to show a new product they have built, he asks, “Tell me what’s so special about the customer journey”. If the customer journey is that important, why does it get ignored? Fadell points to the cognitive bias we tend to carry – “We’re wired to focus our attention on tangible things that we can see and touch to the point that we overlook the importance of intangible experiences and feelings.”

Before we look at 3 examples of how journey mapping was used for Nest, let’s look at a journey map template Fadell gives along with possible touchpoints in each stage:

Fadell’s point is that we tend to focus on the “product design” stage at the cost of the other stages. Here are three examples from the Nest learning thermostat design.

The app: In the early days of Nest, everyone was focused on perfecting the thermostat. It involved getting the design, AI, electronics, mechanics, colors, textures, right. The installation, feeling of turning the dial, the glow when you walk past, all this was thought through. Fadell points out that in Nest journey, 10% was website-ads-packaging-in-store display, 10% was installation, 10% was looking-and-touching the device and 70% was monitoring and control on phone-laptop. After the thermostat was installed and working, majority of touchpoints were through the app. And the team had lost track of the app. They had done initial prototypes when the project began but thought it to be the easy stuff they can come back to later. And it got pushed to the end. Fadell admits he became “really loud” to bring team’s attention to the app.

The box: “You should be prototyping your marketing long before you have anything to market,” says Fadell. And that is what they did at Nest. The cardboard box, its packaging, the product name, the tagline, the top features, their priority order – all these were printed on a cardboard box and constantly tweaked and revised. Two personas were created one tech-savvy husband and his wife, the decision maker, dictated what made into the house and what got returned. Nest team was asking questions like, “Why would they pick up the box? What would they want to know? What was most important to them?” There was no thermostat isle in Best Buy, Nest’s first retail partner. Thermostats were not bought by homeowners directly. Best Buy was not going to create a thermostat isle either. So, they collaborated with Best Buy and invented a Connected-Home isle.

The screw-driver: When prototypes of the actual thermostat were ready, they were sent out to people to test. Self-installation was potentially a major anxiety generator. Hence, it was a crucial test. Testers reported that the installation was smooth. Everything is up and running. But it took about an hour to install. That was way more than what the team thought. So they started digging into the installation experience and see where things are taking time. It turned out that the installation itself was not the culprit. The testers spent twenty minutes locating the right tools like the screwdriver. So Nest team decided to include a little screwdriver in the installation kit. And, to their surprise, the screwdriver served the purpose of a marketing tool because people had to use it more often than the actual thermostat.

In short, the app, the box, and the screwdriver are excellent examples of how journey mapping can be used to enhance the intangible touchpoints in a customer’s journey.

Related articles:

Journey mapping illustrated through Dunzo’s order-tracking experience

Image sources:

Nest screwdriver image source:

Nest app and thermostat image source:

1 comment:

  1. Loved the insight of having a screwdriver included. True user testing in action :)