Trying a new format for hypotheses

I’m a big fan of hypothesis driven design.

I have advocated using it in my own team. In other NHS teams and across other organisations.

I was sitting in Bridgewater Place the other day and I overheard a team use it. A junior designer I worked with on a previous service has started doing it with his new team. A team that hasn’t always been great at doing design.

Writing design hypotheses isn’t always pleasurable. It can be tough to get them exactly right. But they make you a better designer. And design better things as a team.

The act of articulating your design choice further refines your design. And your skills as a designer.

By using a hypothesis driven design process you:

  • Articulate your thinking
  • Provide others with understanding of your thinking
  • Create a framework to test your designs against
  • Develop a standard way of documenting your work
  • Make better stuff

Working on a new range of services with a new team we’re still finding our feet. And working out how we work together.

One thing we are doing is looking at our format of hypotheses. We started with:

  • [Context]
  • If [some action]
  • Then [outcome for users]
  • Because [reason for outcome]

We’re trying to make how we test things clearer. This is something a few people feedback when they talk about how they’ve adopted the format above.

Find whatever works for you and your team is my answer.

So, taking my advice, we’ve moved to:

  • [Context]
  • If [some action]
  • Then [outcome for users]
  • We’ll know this works/is true when:
    • [Measurement]

The measurements are the key results. Some based on numbers. Some not.

This seems to work right now. And it’s making them easier to write and easier to talk about how to prove an idea or not.

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