Victoria Vorobiova, Lead Designer at Open Social, took to the stage at the Open Social Summit 2023 to share an intriguing use case that exemplifies how the company uncovers true user needs beyond the initial client’s request. With her unique blend of artistic creativity, problem-solving skills, and a dash of mind-reading, Victoria has been instrumental in shaping the user experience on the Open Social platform over the last two years.
A primary example Victoria shared was a request to make the Resource Library look more like the search feature, with a colorful background. The request was accompanied by other specific modifications like removing top padding and changing font sizes and colors. However, instead of directly implementing the requested changes, the team asked the critical question: Why does the client want these changes?
Unveiling the Power of Feature Objectives
In addressing this query, Victoria introduced the methodology known as Feature Objectives, developed by Open Social. This framework brings together all vital information about any feature on the platform. It helps clarify the purpose of the feature, its primary audience, associated challenges, user values, and potential solutions to the challenges.
Using Feature Objectives, the team explored the client’s request in the context of the Resource Library. They discovered three primary use cases for the library:
- Providing access to onboarding materials and helping new members familiarize themselves with the platform.
- Enabling the discovery of educational content related to the community.
- Offering guidance on how to use specific features of the platform.
From this analysis, it was clear that the Resource Library was fundamentally different from the search feature. The library serves as a curated, organized collection of resources specifically for onboarding, guiding, and educating users, whereas the search function provides access to all content on the platform without specific curation or guidance.
However, the Resource Library was facing issues related to navigation, visual design, and user value. To address these challenges, the team decided to make the search box smaller, to not detract from the content. They hid the filters under the Resource Library title, allowing users to browse content more easily while still providing access to filters for those who want a more targeted approach.
Victoria concluded by sharing three key takeaways from this experience:
- Ask why: It’s vital to understand the reasons behind a request before moving to the implementation phase.
- Explore: Investigate the problem from different perspectives to find the most effective solutions.
- Empathy: Put yourself in the shoes of the user to better understand their needs and struggles.
Scroll through Victoria’s slides below, and why not check out more insights from the Open Social Summit 2023!