Get Full Text Research
Media and publishing
7 weeks
What we did
Design research
Digital illustration of a mountain landscape in the background. A large computer tablet is in the foreground with people standing around it

As well as looking for confirmation that their current offering was proving valuable, GetFTR wanted to understand the strategic opportunities of investing in a new product. But where to start? Faced with all the possible directions for developing a product, it’s easy to get decision paralysis. How can you know that what you decide on will provide the most value to end users?

The Results

Insight and recommendations to inform the product roadmap

Exploring a new value proposition through rapid prototyping and concept testing

Alignment between a large group of stakeholders

Getting agreement from multiple stakeholders on the product roadmap

A proven method for validating product decisions

Demonstrating that design research can be used to quickly test future product ideas

The Full Story

How do you effectively engage a large group of stakeholders?

This project involved many, many stakeholders. As well as the representatives from within GetFTR itself, there were stakeholders from five of their partner publishers. Every stakeholder was invested in the outcome of the project and every one of them had their opinions on how to approach the problem. It was clear from the outset that the success of this project would require constant communication and collaboration.

We started with one-to-one interviews with the core GetFTR team and key representatives from each of the publishers. Through these conversations, we built our knowledge of the product from their domain expertise.

Side-by-side Venn diagrams from the initial research phase to the presented findings
From research to focus

The key to getting alignment and agreement from all these stakeholders was “show, don’t tell.” Instead of describing a hypothetical product, we needed to build something to test with actual users. But we needed to do it quickly!

How do you explore product ideas at speed?

After understanding the underlying complexities of the GetFTR ecosystem, our next challenge was to design a concept to test.

We began by prioritising the list of minimal viable product (MVP) features to provide a solid foundation of value for the end user. Through desk research and workshop prioritisation, we selected features that would potentially offer value and delight.

Now we needed to test our guess. But what’s the right level of fidelity for doing that? A back-of-the-napkin sketch or a fully featured interactive prototype in a web browser?

The challenge in designing and building a concept for testing is striking a balance between exploration and sophistication. There is often a temptation to build a prototype that feels finished, but this comes at the expense of time for fully exploring a range of ideas.

In our initial sketching workshops, nothing was too polished. We were able to rapidly iterate our design ideas and arrive at an agreed approach for our concept. This afforded us extra time to build a final prototype that offered a more realistic experience.

But even then, we used time-saving shortcuts whenever we could. We used screenshots pasted into Figma to mimic the flow of downloading and installing a browser extension for accessing GetFTR content. When it comes to prototyping, perfect is the enemy of good. We made something “good enough” to at least sustain the illusion of realism for the duration of a testing session.

A row of hand-drawn wireframes above a row of shots showing the prototype

Because the prototype was quick to build, it was also quick to change. We could update the prototype in response to user feedback—sometimes even in the same testing session!

Throughout this process we joined key meetings to give progress updates and answer questions from the advisory board and working groups. These interactions provided us with further context and opportunities to improve our design concept. It also meant that all the stakeholders were informed and consulted throughout the process. By keeping this communication constant, there were no surprise reveals for any of the stakeholders.

How do you make this a repeatable process?

This project demonstrated that a researcher and a product designer working together can be incredibly productive. By taking a concept from idea to testing, you can make a confident decision on what to do next: pursue the idea if it tests well or discard it if it tests poorly.

Flow diagrams showing the GetFTR user journey
Demonstrating the value of design research

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a prototype is worth a thousand meetings. By showing GetFTR the value of design research and rapid prototyping, Clearleft demonstrated a way to involve multiple stakeholders without getting bogged down in endless discussions.

With this open and collaborative approach— and armed with research insights and recommendations—GetFTR was able to confidently make key decisions for their product roadmap, knowing the value and challenges that lay ahead.

If you’d like more details on the specific research findings, read GetFTR’s own story of the project

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