when we talk about modes, we're talking about natural behaviours and a whole lot of context.

observing people behaviourally

When it comes to understanding the current journey/experience of any category, it's important to identify the various behavioural tendencies and contextual scenarios that serve as the backdrop of such journeys. In a recent project for a retail client in the home improvement category, we equipped a number people who were doing-up their bathroom with a digital tool that would help them throughout their DIY bathroom project. The tool served to walk people through the different steps required to tile their bathroom floor, install a shower, etc.

We were testing an MVP with a diary study followed by a series of home-visits to understand how people were using/not using the digital tool for their DIY projects. We were curious to find out the relevance of the tool and why they would or would not continue to use the digital tool. Throughout the course of this prove phase study along with previous design sprint research sessions, I noticed two prominent behaviours when it comes to doing a home improvement project: people are either going to do-it (fix something) or dream-it (create something), and they'll either self-direct (learn something independently) or co-direct (learn something co-dependently). These behaviours served as the framework for a series of customer modes that helped inform the customer journey across the build-phase of the home improvement experience.

do-it or dream-it (to fix or create)

There are a range of reasons why people approach home improvement on their own. For many, it begins with fixing something. And for others it’s about an experimental pursuit of [figuring it out] building something.

There are a range of reasons why people approach home improvement on their own. For many, it begins with fixing something. And for others it’s about an experimental pursuit of [figuring it out] building something.

There are a range of reasons why people approach home improvement on their own. For many, it begins with fixing something. And for others it’s about an experimental pursuit [of figuring it out] to build something.

Customers build their confidence by either figuring things out on their own or by forming an accountability with a trusted group of people.

Customers build their confidence by either figuring things out on their own or by forming an accountability with a trusted group of people.

self-directed or co-directed

Customers build their confidence by either figuring things out on their own or by forming an accountability with a trusted group of people.

 

CUSTOMER MODES

By clearly identifying the opposing behaviours, I was able to distil some key behavioural modes at the intersection of the two behaviours. This resulted in a series of four customer modes that can help frame the context of various home improvement journeys: Blitzing, Experimenting, Influencing, Apprenticing (see below diagram). 

Blitzing
Motivated to get stuff done as quickly and efficiently as possible! A need to stay on top of everything in and may feel anxious if things are left unattended to for too long. Vision may be simple and shortsighted, but it is clear and achievable.

Experimenting

Enjoy the freedom that comes with a set of tools and a space to play. Passionate about creating a unique space and developing specialist techniques. High aspirations that may be abstract and unrealistic.

Influencing
Aspiring to create high quality home improvements that engage and inspire friends and family. Understand the physical spaces and enjoy overcoming a complex challenge, often willing to share results.

Apprenticing
A desire to understand and learn more about home improvement and eventually become more independent and in control of ones home. Ultimately the vision may be unclear and disconnected from emotional and functional needs.

impact of modes

Through this framework, the team was able to understand and design for customers moving from one mode to another across the different phases of their home improvement journey. These modes inform moments/instances based on the scenario in which the customer is in, therefore, becoming a key driver in shaping the experience strategy of the retail business. We found these modes to be an effective lens for understanding people through their personal behaviours rather than a set of generalised attributes that often come from personas, which often lack scenario-based tendencies/behaviours.