An illustration of an “i” in bold, and quotation marks, to signify the importance of an i-statement in your product strategy.

The importance of i-statements in your MVP strategy

How to mine research insights and apply them to your product or service

UX Design Essentials: i-statements

i-statements are important research tools that help capture your users’ emotional interest in your product. They are gathered from your user interviews during your research phase. i-statements uncover the why of your users’ commitment to your product.

The Double Diamond method, a UX process model created in 2005 by the British Design Council, defines the best practices tools available for both research and design to arrive at a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).[1] The Double Diamond features the i-statement as a valuable tool to define your users, and describe your users’ sentiments about your product.

Thus, i-statements are integrated into your user definition during the research phase, before the start of design. Data sets derived through interviews (from researching your initial problem statement) will produce valuable insights on how your customers respond emotionally and personally to your product offerings.

i-statements define your research strategy

A diagram based on to diamond-shaped rectangles that illustrates a simplified Double Diamond UX process overview. The left hand rectangle shows the research phase, and the right hand rectangle shows the design phase. Multiple tools are available during the research phase to gather, analyze, and define data. i-statements are a tool to narrate your user personas. Design follows research, thus, the design can be executed to produce a more specific MVP based on research data.
A diagram based on to diamond-shaped rectangles that illustrates a simplified Double Diamond UX process overview. The left hand rectangle shows the research phase, and the right hand rectangle shows the design phase. Multiple tools are available during the research phase to gather, analyze, and define data. i-statements are a tool to narrate your user personas. Design follows research, thus, the design can be executed to produce a more specific MVP based on research data.
This diagram shows a simplified Double Diamond UX process diagram. Multiple tools are available during the research phase to gather, analyze, and define data. An i-statement is a tool to narrate your user personas and customers’ preferences. The design phase follows the research phase, thus, the design can be executed to produce a more specific MVP based on research data that is also captured in the i-statement. Read more about the concept of the Double Diamond here.

Emotions matter

Let users express their sensations in your research interviews

For example, you are designing for a food app. Unearthing your customers’ favorite food and what mood it evokes in them, their responses can be surprising and revealing. Drill down to gather as many details as possible. You might discover, for instance, that your customers choose food offerings by their colors, as colors express a particular nutritional value or feeling of fullness.

An iconic visual diagram of a customer’s preference for noodles with green vegetables over other food selections. It can be translated simply as “i love noodles”.
An iconic visual diagram of a customer’s preference for noodles with green vegetables over other food selections. It can be translated simply as “i love noodles”.
An iconic visual diagram of a customer’s preference for noodles with green vegetables over other food selections. It can be translated simply as “i love noodles”.

Thus, integrating a color aspect into your menu offering design could become an important point of differentiation over competitors.

Ask about your users’ reactions during a transaction

As another example, if you ask your users a personal, yet purchase-specific question, such as, for example, How do feel when you purchase a hi-end digital device?, you will get responses about the emotional side of a transaction. Buying something expensive can trigger all kinds of feelings, and as a brand, the product offering needs to reflect and integrate the emotional side of why a customer chooses an expensive item. Define the experience through an i-statement.

i feel smart

i need it for my business

i made the investment to move to the next level

An iconic visual diagram using the “i” as an element illustrating a user’s delight in feeling informed and creative about an idea. It can be translated simply as “i feel smart”.
An iconic visual diagram using the “i” as an element illustrating a user’s delight in feeling informed and creative about an idea. It can be translated simply as “i feel smart”.
An iconic visual diagram of a user’s delight in feeling informed and creative about an idea. It can be translated simply as “i feel smart”.

i-statements express moods, sensations, scenarios, preferences, and sensitivities. Collectively, they describe your customers’ needs, wishes, intentions, and expectations.

i-statements define your user personas

i-statements are part of understanding your user. In the initial product research, your user has yet to be defined. Even though we might have the product need and market niche defined, the user persona needs connect to customer directly by identifying their personal preferences.

A visual diagram of an i-statement set within a user persona who plays the guitar. The i-statement expresses that the persona is passionate about music, above anything else. It can be translated simply as “i love music”.
A visual diagram of an i-statement set within a user persona who plays the guitar. The i-statement expresses that the persona is passionate about music, above anything else. It can be translated simply as “i love music”.
A visual diagram of an i-statement set within a user persona who plays the guitar. The i-statement expresses that the persona is passionate about music, above anything else. It can be translated simply as “i love music”. Photo by Bayu Martdiansyah on Unsplash

Once established, your user persona can be referred to at any stage during the design phase to get to your MVP. In the user persona above, Sinaya, simply states that she loves music. At any stage in your process, always refer to this simple i-statement “i love music”. It becomes a guiding statement when designing the product intended for Sinaya, whether it’s branding, functionality, feature development, device preference, or any other product attribute.

i-statements connect with empathy and service

Your customers will feel whether you, the CEO, stakeholder, researcher, designer, or developer, really cares about them. They want to feel that you are designing the right product for them, regardless the size of your teams or your company. Your customers want to know that you have empathy, and that you are listening to their needs and wishes.

Expressing such customer input through the use of an i-statement gives you a powerful tool to draw upon throughout the entire design and development process. It gives the user a voice, through the creation of the user persona, which personifies and verbalizes the interaction between implementer and end-user.

i am a loyal customer, i like a well-crafted product

In summary

i-statements are culled from user interviews during your research phase, connecting you to the voice of the user through personalized points of view.

i-statements are powerful tools to ground your design process.

i-statements influence the branding, functionality, interactivity, feature prioritization, and many other aspects of your product. They connect you to the users’ emotions, moods, and sensitivities.

i-statements embrace empathy and listening to your users, both important aspects in your brand’s communication with the customer.

Apply them to your design process.

All illustrations © Eva Schicker 2021

Reference: [1] https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/news-opinion/design-process-what-double-diamond.

Thank you.

Welcome. I write about design, UX, UI, animation, creative entrepreneurship, art, & life in NYC. UX Director Lelantos Press, Artist, UX GA NYC Bootcamp grad.

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