Journey Maps, Stake Holder Analysis and MoodBoards: Thinking in a hierarchical way!

Designing solutions involves being able to view a particular problem from vivid angles. These angles can only be generated via indulging in brainstorming sessions with peers, getting varied insights and also by looking at the works of other designers. However, when it comes to applying these insights and ideas into one’s own design concepts, it becomes a herculean task to arrange the information. That’s where Journey Maps and Stake Holder Analysis come into picture! We humans only succeed when we are able to devise plans. As the great Chanakya once said, ‘Great plans might or might not work, but the process of planning is very important.’

Lets imagine a scenario where we have to bake a cake. The first step would be to acquire all the necessary ingredients in order to start the process. The next step would be to assess the hierarchy in which the ingredients have to be added in order to produce the final product — The cake!
This process of analyzing the hierarchy of the steps that one takes in order to achieve the final product/solution which can be represented on a blackboard or on a chart paper or any other form of media is called building a Journey Map

An Example of a Journey Map by me for a Waste Management Project in Bangalore

Now lets consider the first step in the cake making process where we needed to identify all the ingredients that would play a role in making the cake.When it comes to designing, these ingredients take the form of participants and we need to identify which participants play a role or are affected by our research methodology. This process is called Stakeholder Analysis.

A Stake Holder Analysis done by me for a Waste Management project

The above image shows the number of people involved in the various categories that waste is generated in. It not only enables me to have a clear view of who is involved in the process of waste management but also it enables me to analyze as to how I am about to go with my research.

Once the process of Stake Holder analysis is done, the designer has to also understand as to what all the Stake Holder does in his day to day life, his behavioral patterns, his decision influences and also his motivators. The motivators can be availability of monetary resources, availability of time and the length in which the designers interest lies in the topic.

When it comes to Visual Designing, the method of organizing information and taking out the necessary components out of it changes. Then we come across the concept of MoodBoards. MoodBoards are the tools that a Visual Designer generally uses in order to achieve maximum clarity about the concept that he/she wants to develop for the final product. It involves researching and collecting images from various media sources and then arranging them in such a way so as to generate a color palette which would then form the platform of the app or the website that is being designed.

A concept of Mood Board I designed for redesigning Indian Passport Website. The colors above the mood board represent the color palette that the images bring out.

Design research is a very vast process. It involves many factors such as knowing who the participators are in the process, how they will be affected, finding the gaps to pitch in a solution and conceptualizing the solution into reality. It helps when you have the necessary tools to begin with and Journey Maps and Stake Holder Analysis help you do so. It encourages the designer to count in all the factors that would affect his final outcome hence making the design more realistic, viable and sustainable for the future.

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