Taylor and Jared agree that creating a library for easy reference pays in the long run. It may take effort, but a highly visual, informational, and interactive tool will create a buzz with your stakeholders.
“You’re not building these reference libraries to be thrown away,” Jared said. “You’re going to have these for the long term of the project.”
But perhaps you prefer to know the data around the product, the people, and their pain points – you’re not much for formal documentation. Taylor advises putting in the effort for empathy building tools.
“If you’re doing design sprints, you’re doing some sort of empathy mapping exercise,” Taylor pointed out. “To create empathy, you have to have understanding. And to truly inform your empathy maps, you must use real user data, not just stakeholder assumptions.”
Taylor said it’s also important to keep your empathy maps categorized so you can leverage them at any time for additional sprints. “It’s essentially creating a go-to kind of catalog,” he said. “It’s going to give you that go-to data that will hopefully save you time down the road.”
The big lesson here? Don’t waste anything. Organize all that upfront work and research. Taylor said how you organize is ultimately up to you, but perhaps buckets could be:
- Behavior patterns
- Shared perceptions across different audience sets
- Shared language or vernacular
- Opportunity space
- Guiding principles arrived at from thematic analysis (by industry, sector, etc)
- Empathy maps
Jared said that all this work to create libraries can expand far beyond your project, too. “It becomes a shared resource,” he said. “The work that you’re doing becomes not only work for your team, but for the whole organization.”