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Design Thinking ICM512

Understanding Point of View Statements

Your insights are valuable. Use them to develop Point of View statements in the Define stage of the Design Thinking process.

Observing and listening to your users is an invaluable resource to your product’s success—before, during, and after a product launch. And even more important is the ability to synthesize and translate their experiences into meaningful information you and your team can use to build or improve your product.

Problem statements are commonly used in the Define stage of design thinking to help you accomplish this goal—and Point of View (POV) statements are one specific type of problem statement. As described by the Interaction Design Foundation, “A good POV will allow you to ideate and solve your design challenge in a goal-oriented manner in which you keep a focus on your users, their needs, and your insights about them.”

A good POV will allow you to ideate and solve your design challenge in a goal-oriented manner in which you keep a focus on your users, their needs, and your insights about them.

Interaction Design Foundation

When I think of POV statements, I can’t help but think of one of my favorite tv shows, Jane the Virgin, in which we experience much of the story through the narrator’s observations and storytelling. His colorful descriptions and energetic reactions were some of the biggest highlights of watching the show—it was as if he was a bestie sitting on the couch, watching the show alongside me. I couldn’t wait to tune in each week and hear what he had to say about what we (he and I) were about to witness.

Every week we experienced a new episode of Jane the Virgin alongside a stranger and friend—the narrator of the show.

When we conduct a POV exercise, we designers play the same role as our Jane narrator. The more colorful and insightful our observations are, the more memorable and useful they become. A POV statement is an opportunity to tell a meaningful story that captures valuable information about the user, their needs, and your insights about the situation. The comments should be clear and concise but captivating as well.

Anatomy of a POV Statement

Building a good POV statement requires you to leverage the research you conducted in the Empathy phase of design thinking and synthesize it to pull valuable information out of it. Every POV statement should consist of the following pieces:

1. Identify the User

There should be a clear understanding of who the user is. Reference any personas, affinity maps, or empathy maps you created in the Empathize phase.

2. Understand Their Needs

Based on your research and understanding, what imperative needs is your user expressing? Describe your need using verbs, which will mentally encourage idea generation in the next phase of design thinking. 

3. Share your Insights

Based on your perceptions, why is this a need for the user? What are the underlying emotional or behavioral motivations? 

Once you’ve gathered this information, structure it into a statement that will establish your baseline for ideating solutions.

Use the Point of View statement to help you structure your problem in an actionable, user-focused format.

Living in a different country than my own, I rely on certain apps every day to get around. Because of that, I have strong feelings about each of them. I was curious how other people felt too, so I researched the Reviews section in the App Store and created POV statements based on my insights. Check them out below.

Sherpa’s Food Delivery

Food delivery is so convenient and cheap in China. Sherpa’s is an English-version delivery app that caters to western audiences. We use it frequently because Chinese food delivery apps like DianPing are much more challenging to navigate because they are in Mandarin. Unless we’re ordering Chinese for dinner, our default delivery app is Sherpa’s. 

User Comments
Positive Review
Negative review
Suggestive review
POV Statement
Customers who order food delivery need to choose how they want to enter their address because relying on geo-location alone makes them worry that their food won’t get delivered to the right location.

WeChat Super App

Super-apps are extremely popular in China—especially WeChat. It’s impossible to live in China without WeChat —it is my social media, wallet, and metro card. I can order a cab/didi, online shop, and pay my bills through it. It’s every app rolled into one and an entirely different approach to app development than in the U.S.

User Comments
Positive Review
Negative review
Suggestive review
POV Statement
WeChat needs to clarify their login process because right now many users start signing-up, then later realize they can’t finish the process because they can’t meet all of the verification requirements. This makes people feel annoyed and angry at the company.

Google Translate

Although I am learning basic Mandarin, I can’t possibly get around Shanghai without using translation technology to communicate. I translate from Mandarin to English or vice versa every single day, so having a reliable, useful translation app is mandatory.

User Comments
Positive Review
Negative review
Suggestive review
POV Statement
Google Translate needs to show users where primary features are at all times so they can easily access and use them without having to look for them.

Hopefully the examples above have helped clarify what Point of View statements are and how to use them. The above is just a snapshot of the full analysis. If you’d like to dig deeper into the content and see a wider collection of comments and how the POV’s derived from them, please download the full document below. I’ve also left some resources in case you are interesting in reading more about the define stage and problem-statements.

References & Resources

The Define Stage: Where Problems Are Your Guide by Michelle Ovalle

Define and Frame Your Design Challenge by Creating Your Point Of View and Ask “How Might We” by Interaction Design Foundation (IxDF)

Stage 2 in the Design Thinking Process: Define the Problem and Interpret the Results by Interaction Design Foundation (IxDF)

Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

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