Customer personas and experiences are a good start to developing your UX, but you’ve got to go much deeper than that. Learn how to translate the needs of your potential customers into the real features and capabilities that will meet them.

So you’ve created personas for your most important customers and identified some likely digital experiences of your brand. But does that mean you know every need they could have, every problem they could potentially encounter, and every functionality you could offer to solve them?

The next step in the process of great product design is deconstructing user experiences. Once your personas have been defined and socialized, experience teams must start breaking down previously defined experiences into more granular user journeys, interactions, and supporting features and capabilities.

Foundations

You won’t get any of the time and resources you need to do this project well without the support and input from the people at the very top. Therefore, experience teams should begin the process by defining, socializing, and validating each of the Objectives, Goals, Strategies, and success factors of the experiences they defined in the persona development process. This step will ensure that your design goals are aligned with those of business leadership or executive stakeholders.

Once the experience teams have gotten the go-ahead from leadership, they must move on to the company’s top marketers and begin the Discovery phase. The team should work with SMEs to map out the roles that your existing products, services, and capabilities play in your experiences. At the same time, they will research best practices and key trends across direct competitors, disruptors, and relevant industry verticals.

The Discovery phase puts your hypothetical experiences into real-life context, giving you a sense of how your ability to meet vital consumer needs stacks up against those of competitors. Now that you’ve laid this important groundwork, the real deconstruction work can begin.

Journey Deconstruction

All the insights and findings gained from the Discovery phase are now leveraged in order to break down your existing experiences into logical user journeys. From the initial search engine query to the checkout process, these journeys use the research your teams have created together to anticipate all the different directions a common customer experience could take.

The experience team then continues its work with top marketers, with whom they will organize “co-creation” workshops. These sessions serve as a check against the work the experience team has done, relying on marketing expertise to validate, create, or refine the journeys you’ve defined so far. If the collaboration process is done properly, the experience team will probably iterate multiple times before consensus is reached.

This process must be repeated to define the new and existing capabilities that will enable these interactions to happen as smoothly as possible, this time with the help of digital trends research. Again, co-creation workshops will be crucial to validating or refining the interactions you’ve identified and the capabilities that make them possible.

It’s easy to dream up fantastic digital services, but without extensive knowledge of IT infrastructure, you might not have a good idea of how much those dreams will cost you. The exhaustive, collaborative deconstruction work your team has done must be run by the IT department. The two teams will cooperate to develop cost-benefit analysis and business cases to support any further development work, ensuring that your new digital initiatives are both powerful and practical.

Preparing for the Final Step

At this point, you’ve finished both the persona development and user experience deconstruction phases. The output of these two processes will become the starting point of the Journey Visualization process, where wireframes and clickable prototypes will be developed and handed over to software engineers for production.