Finding our strategic example

Today we started to reconsider the example we use in our story of Benjamin and Joey, the Savvy and the Sleeper. During Wednesday’s presentation, we used the example of putting a portfolio together to apply to grad school.

Hum, not everyone applies to grad school with a portfolio…

After feedback from our professors and some reflection of our own, we worry that this example isn’t a common enough experience to use as our “So what” scenario. We have to remind ourselves that “we aren’t the user”, but from our scenario, it sure looks like we forgot that tenant of usability.

Today we sketched out common life occurrences that are both document rich and have embedded opportunities and consequences.

Next steps in research

We will investigate these  scenarios and will become the document and process experts for each situation. We’re looking for one or two scenarios which really tell our “So what” story about being prepared and organized for life events because we think that being prepared and organized:

  • opens doors
  • prevents consequences both big and small for you
  • prevents consequences for others around you

Prepared or organized? Which can we measure?

The goal is to develop an objective way to judge just how prepared someone really is.  Our thinking is that by finding the guidance around a particular class of documents, say utility bills*, and articulating why you should keep them  and how you should store them, then we can determine if our user is or is not prepared.

Filers and pilers, both can be organized 

But when trying to decide if someone is organized, it becomes more tricky as “organized” is a subjective term.  We feel that as long as you know where your s-h-i-t is and you can find it, you are organized.

If that looks like piles of random papers which you personally know the ins and outs of, then that’s organized.  If it looks like neatly labeled file folders but you have no idea how you could put your hands on your car title, that is not organized.

But from our research, we didn’t encounter the latter scenario where things look organized but they’re not.  For the most part, people who looked disorganized, or even said that they were disorganized were in fact as organized as they needed to be.

They knew what three or four places to look for such documents and were highly confident they could put their hands on said document in 30 minutes or less with a little poking around.

*In case you were wondering, utility bills are handy for proving residence at a new address which can be helpful when applying for a library card, state ID or neighborhood discount card.  The guidance is to keep three months worth of utility bills around, or, to be safe, ten years worth which to us seems rather extreme.  Utility bills can also be helpful if you’re budget conscious or concerned with your environmental impact as the bills have a record of your energy use.  If you’re trying to see how fast your investment in insulating your roof is paying off, your before and after utility bills will tell you.

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