The Pru Experience

We were lucky enough to have some staff from Prudential into our studio to run a workshop with us this week. The workshop was designed to take us through a design sprint to create a mobile application. The day started off with us forming teams at random and then simulating some user research. This involved one of the Prudential staff becoming a persona of a user profile. He was very good at acting the character out and it was very believable. It really tested our interview skills and was quite realistic due to the fact that he was firmly stuck in character. He really punished bad questions and made it clear when our questions were poor, especially focused on questions that had yes/no answers. We then relayed what insights we got from the interview and he gave us feedback on how we did.

They then taught us some design techniques to make the insights we gained actually valuable in the design process. We created graphs of processes, mapping the users emotions during the process. The process we were designing for was organising a holiday between multiple families. We used this graph to identify the ‘pain point’ of the way people currently organise holidays. They taught us that improving the already good parts of a process were no where near as valuable as improving the bad parts. We also learned Google’s ‘Crazy 8’s’ method of rapid idea generation. I found this method really effective and will use it in my 4th year of study.

Once we had generated our individual ideas we used the dot voting method to crash our ideas together to make one group idea with the best of each design. We took this idea to the prototype phase and learned how to effectively communicate complex ideas in a short presentation format. Then we took it in turns to deliver our app design that would improve the process of booking group family holidays. It was surprising how similar our ideas were, but it made sense considering we did the same interview and used the same design methods.

I was amazed how fast you could go from research to presentation. It’s actually gave me a bit of anxiety about how methodical the design industry actually is. Each project is ran through the same process and this allows quick turn around of solutions no matter what the subject matter is. It made me think about my own process. I’m a bit romantic about the way I currently do things, I like lavishing attention on each specific project, whereas in industry it’s very depersonalised and industrialised. I hope to find  a comfortable comparison between the two design processes in the future of my career as a designer.