Let’s move to France!

Ella Forté
7 min readJun 3, 2019
Photo by Sebastien Gabriel on Unsplash

At a time where you can communicate with someone who lives on the other side of the planet, where you can send people in the Universe, where drones can ship packages and where anyone can travel faster than before, moving to another country should be finger in the nose, right?


On our first bootcamp week at Ironhack Paris, we tackled a Wicked Problem on the matter.

But what is a Wicked Problem exactly?

Well it’s a broad problem which you cannot address with one simple solution only, it’s something that comes from a statement and needs solutions to improve the situation. Kind of blurry right?

The Wicked Problem we choose with the team was:

The new century has experienced an exponential increase in people’s mobility all around the world. Even if migration has always been a recurrent phenomenon across history, never before has humankind seen such variety of destinations, motivations, and setups.

Along with the experience of migrating — possibly having to adapt to a different culture or language — come a number of bureaucratic tasks that need to be fulfilled within a certain period of time to legalize the journey in the host country. How Might We help migrant people find the information, complete the tasks and successfully get their paperwork done to start their life in a new city.

But by being so hard to address, Wicked Problems are a great way to apply your Design Thinking methodologies. So that’s what we did with the team starting with the User Research!


To target users and orient the problem we decided to focus on U.S. citizens that come to live in France for more than 3 months. So now we had to reach this target to get insights from it. We decided to start with an online survey for quantitative data and to contact people from our networks for interviews in order to collect qualitative data.

Brainstorming for the interview guide

So we managed to interview 6 people in total but it was mostly by phone because of the target we choose and the short notice. It was great to practice User Interview which is really something that you have to learn and improve every time. To sum up: shut up and listen to what the user has to tell you, they know better than anyone what their pains are.

Time to sort all the data collected now! With our interviews transcriptions, post-it, sharpies and a white wall we started the Affinity Diagram which was really challenging at first because categorization could be really hard but also really helpful to understand our users better.

Affinity Diagram

Fortunately our 5-member team worked well and we all participated keenly to the exercise which made it easier. Next on the list: Empathy Map! What’s now you say? Well it’s another mapping tool that puts the user in the center of the picture and that help you get in you in his/her shoes. It’s a great tool even if it does not apply for all projects but for this one in particular it made us progress on our data analysis.

Empathy map

Now that we understand our user, what he/she sees, feels, hears, feels, let’s gather all that data into a Persona that will match all the insights of our users. Persona are really effective in the way that anybody can identify to them as target user, it helps with the empathy step a lot.

So let me introduce to you: Karen Brown!

Now that we know Karen and understand her goals and pains, we need to focus on her User Journey to identify more clearly at what stage is she experiencing pains to later ideate on how we could intervene.

The User Journey was a great deal of our work and it was hard for us because we felt it was good to detail all the administrative procedures she has to go through while preparing her move to France.

Karen User Journey’s and her Pain-Points in yellow

Now that we know that Karen’s main pain points are the time of uncertainty while she waits in-between procedures and the gathering of paperwork because of the lack of centralized information, we can brainstorm around a solution which will help her on those points.


Time for Problem Statement and Hypothesis. This was hard at the beginning because the most common reflex from all member of the team was to address a problem statement that was quite “dull” in the sense that it did not cover the complexity of what we want to solve. That’s where the How Might We methodology* helped us.

How Might We help Karen seize a job opportunity by streamlining the process and access to information about
her relocation to France?

*HMW statement are a way to answer a problematic situation starting with “How Might We….”.


The Crazy 8’s methodology was presented to us and I must admit that it was quite a discovery. Folding a sheet of paper by 8 then spending 1min by idea to come up with 8 ideas each is a great way to let the mind travel and to come up with really cool stuff. After that we had a lot of great ideas that we organized by type. Each of us took 30 minutes to draw Before, During, After situations according to the main features we decided to develop in our solution. After what we voted for the one that we found best to focus on for now.

So what’s the solution?

An assisting platform that provides Karen checklists and real-time progress bar.

Why? Well these complementary features keep Karen from waiting in the dark and drowning in paperwork. The real-time progress bar keeps her updated of where she is at all along the process and the checklist reassures her of the documents she needs to present and the one she already submitted. From our research we became aware that scheduling and managing timeframes were the main issues alongside with heavy paperwork. By developing this solution we aim at solving them.

Sketch of the solution

Next steps

For this 1st project, we had to stop at this step, Ideate and the solution. But of course we had plenty of other ideas that could be implemented in the future.

  • Take into account a second persona: Becky “The passionate student”. To speak truly we worked on Becky since we started personas but we became aware that for now one persona was enough and it would have been too ambitious to work on two personas all at once. But we are aware that procedures differ from professional situations than student situations.
Student Persona
  • Add new features: online agenda, uploading scanning and send document to the administration, automated translation.
During the use of the scan and translate feature
  • Add cultural tips to help adaptation to the French culture: beyond the procedures, moving to another country means learning a new culture and that can be overwhelming at first.

Key Learnings & Feedback

  • It was really intense and challenging but it was worth it. We learned a lot about various Design Thinking tools and it was really great to put them in practice with a real case.
  • User Research is a huge part of the process and needs to be considered as such.
  • Too much ambition at first can be dangerous and counterproductive. I think we complicated certain things just because we wanted to do good. But that could have been more efficient. As our teachers said to us:

Keep it Simple and Stupid.



Ella Forté

Product Designer based in Paris. Huge fan of Friends. How you doin?