• joshwilsher

Day 14 - Laddering

This method presses on the "why" aspect when interviewing a customer for a product and helps researchers to know what the real reason is when a person uses or buys a product. Asking "why" over and over again helps strip away layers about only the physical product and breaks down into the value that the product has to a customer.

What I Learned:

Laddering can help get the information that you really need. I think it's interesting that simply asking a series of "why" questions can reveal what the true value is. The method essentially backs the customer into a corner and has them reach for every answer they have. It's a method that has a slight interrogation feel to it but I think is beneficial for both parties as they find the real reason why a person uses a product. You could also use it to determine the real reason why a participant doesn't like a flow or design.

One part that also stood out to me while reading this method was that it said:

"Laddering works best when conducted early in the design process, or any time internal discussions become fixated on a product's features and characteristics"

It also works as a great method to help re-focus a team or person on what really matters with a product. It cuts away at the surface level needs and reminds you (again) WHY, you are creating the product and the customer needs.


To practice this method, I questioned my wife (unbeknownst to her) about a recent purchase she had made of a climbing triangle for our kids. One thing I learned from this practice is that when you know the person, they are more likely to be open with you fairly quickly. I didn't have to ask many "why" questions to get my wife to open up about why she got the item. Therefore I think this method works best when you don't know the person. Anyway here is a transcript of the "interview":

Why did you want a climbing Triangle?

The kids can play on it and it's supposed to be good for like babies to help them stand up and its natural colored and fits into the environment. It's just good for their gross motor development like when they’re kids.

Why'd you want the kids to have it? Why do you think It'll be fun for them?

I think it'll be fun for them because I've watched several other kids their age like on Instagram videos or whatever play with it. When we go to playgrounds and stuff like that, they love climbing up the stairs and going down the slide and It's bringing that to the home. Someone might say well, "why don't you just buy a little plastic side?" Well, the wooden materials are supposed to have like a natural, you know benefit and two of them can go on it at once and it can double as a tent and the slide flips two sides so they could do like the rock climbing and the slide and it fits more than one kid at once.

Why do you want it for a new baby?

I mean not for a new baby, but the baby starts to crawl around starts to pull itself up.

It's like been shown to be good for like it's called their gross motor skills. So like climbing running jumping like that type of thing.

Why do you want to get Montessori things like the triangle why is Montessori important?

Well, there's a part of it that I feel, there's part of it that I've read. So I originally got into it because I feel like from doctors and like things like the papers that they give me at the doctor's office. The American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging no screen time, right?

So Montessori is very like not electronic. I mean you can use electronic but like all the toys are not battery-powered. They're very neutral colors. They're very like old-fashioned and simple because it helps the child focus their brain and their not over stimulated by the colors and the loud noises and like the their cars that they used to have. You know, it was just like it was cool, you know and everyone thinks it's cool, but we have lots.

I feel like it's important because I just feel like the more screen time they have It's not working their brains. I see kids who do Montessori and they're able to do puzzles and they don't get frustrated as easily because they're not used to the instant gratification of like noise and TV.

So anyway, I like it for the simpleness and for the fact that I feel like it teaches kids patience and like perseverance and how to be independent which in this world if you just let them watch TV or just go with your phones or whatever. We live in a very instant gratification type of world and I myself would like to get away from that and I'd like to teach my kids not throw fits when something's hard. I want them to be able to think and to make mistakes and to you know, be praised for their hard work and stuff.

So yeah, that's really long answer but those are some of the reasons why I feel like it's important.

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