Talking to Strangers (about your product)

If you are inventing a new product, service, or system, you are making decisions about what features your new thing will have. Sometimes these decisions are based in research, other times they are based on the designer’s gut.

No matter where your ideas for features come from, when you are demoing your product, it’s important to take us on a journey that starts with conflict and ends with peace. Why? Because when you work on a product and its features, you get really close to it. You know how the whole and it’s parts fit together. But when you show it to someone who is only seeing it for the first time, you need to communicate quickly how your product solves a human-centered problem. Here’s a template for you to use:

  1. Open with the main character who has a problem that is affecting the quality of his life and work: We met John, he has such and such a problem which is making him feel really distracted…
  2. Tell us how your character finds your solution in the midst of their problem crisis: John went to his physical therapist about this problem and his PT told him about x solution…
  3. Walk us through how each feature on your product addresses your main character’s needs: John begins working with solution x. At first, he opens feature A which helps him with subproblem 1…
  4. To wrap it up, remind us of your character’s problem, then tell us how he’s been transformed by using your solution: Remember John a few weeks ago when he was stressed out and distracted and having pain? Through only a few weeks of using solution x which helped him with 1, 2, and 3, he is now happy and peaceful and pain free. 

Then, if you are asked, you can dig into technical details or production costs or key partners that you need to scale the adoption of your product. But first, orient your listeners with a human-centered story. It helps draw them in and it also shows them that you are an empathic designer.

 

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