Defining User Motivations Through Jobs to Be Done

Understanding what motivates users is crucial to creating meaningful experiences that develop affinity, build trust, and prompt repeat visits. With competing internal priorities and initiatives, it is easy to unintentionally add clutter that dilutes an experience and frustrates users. One tool to create clarity is Jobs to Be Done.

What is Jobs to Be Done? 

Jobs to Be Done, or JTBD, is a way of looking past the behaviors a user has—the what—or the interactions they take—the how—to focus on their motivations: the why. Motivations, while the best way to drive action, are often masked and left to user experience designers to infer through other points of qualitative data. By pinpointing where user motivations converge, organizations can focus their efforts on tangible jobs and create experiences that resonate.  

For example, a user doesn’t buy a ticket to a performance so that they can sit and watch an orchestra. They buy a ticket to feel immersed in and inspired by the artistry while being connected to a community invigorated by live performance. 

How JTBD Stands Out 

Traditional methods often provide a snapshot of user behaviors or attributes without actionable insights. JTBD, on the other hand, translates these behaviors into motivations. This shift allows organizations to create strategies that directly address user needs, fostering innovation and crafting experiences that resonate with their audience.  

At Adage, we use JTBD as an outcome of our discovery process. By grounding our projects in JTBD, we ensure they align with our clients' and their audiences' needs and speak directly to their motivations. These jobs, once defined, become a source of truth that we can look back to as projects and clients evolve: are we still performing these jobs? Where have our successes created new jobs? How can we meet them? 

Integrating JTBD into Your User Experience 

To integrate JTBD into your user experience, establish an ongoing user research framework by conducting interviews, surveys, and design tests to gather insights. Synthesizing this information helps create broader user personas and identify JTBD, guiding the project roadmap and ensuring alignment with users. 

Framing is key to creating meaningful JTBDs. As you craft them, they must have tangible actions that a user might take, meet a user need or alleviate a pain point, and consist of functional and emotional aspects a user may feel. In practice, this may look like: 

  • Job: Feel more connected to those inside my industry 
  • Action: Participate in a regional networking event 
  • Functional Aspect: Find a qualified group of colleagues 
  • Emotional Aspect: So that I feel that I belong 

With that in mind, we can qualify outcomes of the JTBD that gauge success inside our interface when a user registers for an event. They might be: 

  • Minimize the time it takes to register online for a networking event 
  • Reinforce the value of the event throughout the sign-up process 
  • Create opportunities for connection prior to the event 

Each of these outcomes informs a comprehensive user registration experience. JTBDs are not so prescriptive that they define a task a designer must perform, neither are they so broad that they lack specificity. By considering outcomes and their intended jobs, design teams can approach challenges with nuance and design an experience that fits users’ motivations. 

Contact us today to discover how JTBD can transform your user experience! 

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