How well do you understand your users? When designing a website, knowing who your target audience is, what they want and how to solve their problems should serve as the framework for your site. After all, if your site does the job your user needs, the user is happy and more likely to return and even spread the word about your site, products and services.
When you use job stories and user stories, you get a more well-rounded view of your users. The result is a precise job that your website does for your visitors. When the result is clear, your designers can deliver a better site that caters to your audience’s needs.
These are not scenarios and personas
In the past, the combination was scenario and persona. The problem is they’re not as detailed and definite as job stories and user stories. Often, it leaves the designer disconnected from the customer. The final product is what a business thinks their customers want and need rather than what they want and need.
Personas are very useful for a profile a particular type of person, which works well for using targeted advertising and figuring out where your typical custom may see to your marketing campaigns. Personas are a great tool to help you draw people to your brand, but once they get there, people focus on the task/goal/job to be done.
Introducing job stories
User stories aren’t dead, but they need a partner. This is why you should use job stories. In their most basic sense, job stories are a three-tier look into understanding your customers and ensuring your website does that job for them. The tiers are motivation, anxieties and causality. The three things that personas usually don’t cover. Job stories take away the assumptions of user stories alone. Instead, you start with the statement “When _, I want to _, so I can _.” The first covers the situation, the next covers motivation and the final is your outcome.
Use job stories to focus on what matters
Currently, you might be so focused on the user that you forget about the job that needs to be done. It’s not just about coming up with a solution to a problem. The focus is better placed on finding the right type of solution better fit a user’s need. For instance, a form with a dozen questions might get the job done, but a user might be more inclined to fill out a form if each field had an explanation to aid them in the process or help them feel more comfortable as to why certain information is required.
Why not go a step further and think about the job the user sees the form doing for them (like making an enquiry, placing an order, etc.) and try to remove anything that gets in the way of it doing that job.
At Hidden Depth, we talked to previous clients and potential clients trying to understand the job story behind our website enquiry form. The feedback showed us that the job story was simple, people wanted to get a ballpark figure for our work. This would allow them to understand if our work fit into their budget. Some people visiting our website might think it looks nice and then assume we are expensive to work with, others may think the opposite, but without a way to gauge how much a project might cost some people may decide to not even get in touch.
With this feedback in mind, we edited our website enquiry form and provided budget and timeframe dropdown options. We also included an option for “I’d like help with this”, for anyone who is unsure of how much to invest. This tweak to our enquiry form gives people a simple overview of our general project fees and timelines.
Since the new form has launched, we have seen an increase in the number of enquiries. Moreover, we have noticed that the queries coming in are more serious buyers ready to do business.
As you start thinking about your website, start by creating a user story. This gives you a broad understanding of your user and the solution. Next, create a job story or stories to fine tune your user story into a concept that provides the ideal UX and UI for your users.
Creating a job story
The entire purpose of a job story is to ensure your website is doing the best job for your users. Your designers use the story to provide not just a solution, but the right solution for your users’ needs. Don’t worry if you come up with multiple job stories along the way. Different features will likely develop as the outcome of different stories. The process has five steps, and it’s important to go through all five:
- Establish a high-level job – think broad
- Think of smaller jobs to resolve the high-level job – make the high level manageable
- Look at how users currently handle the job – what solutions currently work
- Turn the above steps into a detailed job story
- Build the final solution as a solution to the job story
To create a job story, you’ll need to talk to actual people. A user story helps you better identify your audience, but the power of job story comes from interacting with your real audience and learning what their needs are.
For instance, you might think your users only need a solution to help them search for shoes online. In reality, your users might want to search for shoes based on occupation, daily walking distance or level of support. All these criteria would set an online shoe business apart because the site does the right job for the users instead of just assuming all users need the same thing.
Create A Better Website
When you use job stories and user stories together, you’re able to provide your designer with a more detailed list of features for your site along with the reasons why. This allows your designer to envision your site the way your users want and need it to be. As with most things in business, the better you understand your customers, the better results you’ll have.
Want your website to have more impact? Contact us to talk about your own job stories, so we can work together to find solutions to users’ problems.
Image: Bench Accounting