Learn More: Using solutions maps

Solutions maps can be incredibly useful tools to help you come up with solutions to your problems. Why is this helpful? Overall, the most common approach for beginners is to design just one variation, but experiments with more than four variations are more likely to achieve statistically significant uplift. In other words, you’re more likely to have a clear winner, but you’ll also learn more. Why? Because by exploring different solutions, including some bolder options, you’ll get a better sense of how to solve your visitors’ problems. So creating a solutions map will allow you to imagine a great variety of solutions to give you a wider variety of variations for your experiment.

When you map potential solutions to your problems, try brainstorming at least 10 different options. Maybe one’s a suggestion from a customer, one’s a suggestion from your boss, one’s something you saw on a competitor’s site, and a few others are original ideas you’ve thought up. This gives you more room to entertain different possible solutions than trying just one alternative.

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Once you’ve reviewed all your analytical data and identified some problems that you want to address, it’s time to return to your goal tree. Use the information gathered from both sources to build a map linking your problems with your goals. This map will help you generate ideas that will in turn help you build a hypothesis, by getting you to consider strategies and tactics that will have a direct impact on a specific goal.

For example, while reviewing the analytics for their product page, the team for online retailer Attic and Button realized they were experiencing heavy dropoff on that page. What was causing it? One way they could answer that question is to build and review a solutions map to help brainstorm ways of addressing that issue.

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Based on the data, what kind of strategies could Attic and Button use to increase their completion rate? One strategy might be to emphasize the primary call to action, which in this case is the Add to Cart button.

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Then, consider the tactics that could work for this strategy. Tactics will answer the question of HOW you could get visitors to meet the goal. Right now, you shouldn’t get too specific--this is still fairly high-level brainstorming. For example, to implement the strategy of emphasizing the primary call to action, Attic and Button might consider adjusting messaging or wording, or tweaking the button’s size or location on the page. They might even try changing the button’s color, design, or iconography.

Continue imagining potential strategies and brainstorming tactics that could help make that strategy a success until you run out of ideas. When you’re done, you should have a map full of different potential approaches to reach your goal.

As you build your solutions map, also remember to consider options that might not be externally visible on a heat map or in your other data. Could it be that people are leaving the product page because they selected this product, but it’s not QUITE what they’re looking for and there’s nothing on the page to tell visitors that you DO have similar products that might be exactly what want? Maybe your funnel path should be optimized to offer visitors immediate access to related products.

This is why solutions maps are so useful. You can imagine all the strategies that can affect a particular goal and put them in one place to help you figure out how to optimize your visitors’ experience and reach your ultimate goal.

When you’ve completed your solutions mapping, you’ll probably have a pile of potential tactics and no idea where to start. Not to worry! Remember, we’d like to have a number of variations for experimentation, so creating a ton of ideas now can only help in the long run. Moving forward,consider the best places for experimentation and other factors, such as ease of implementation and impact. But having all these ideas is a really useful place to start.