Last week we took a look at some things you could do to start work on a product. Once you’ve established a good rapport with your key sponsor and built a shared understanding with your team, you’re going to want to know more about the people who are going to use your product.
This week’s KBP.Update shares some resources on how to find out more about your users, both for a new product, and an existing product that you need to modify.
Yes, user is a terrible term to refer to these folks. Unfortunately I haven’t run across a different term that works. If you have, please note them in the comments. Until then, users it is.
Included is a technique for identifying the different types of users you have, some thing to think about as you talk with your users, a technique for getting a better understanding of your user’s needs, and a way that one company found to organize all the information they collect when they talk to your users.
Kent J. McDonald
Who’s going to use this thing?
User modeling is a technique used to establish a commonly agreed-upon list of user roles for a product. This list of user roles and their descriptions provides helpful context for user stories and other backlog items. You can think of user modeling as one aspect of stakeholder analysis that is specifically focused on people interacting with a product or receiving value from it.
Think before you speak (to your users)
It’s not enough to just tick the box of ‘talking to users’ and think that doing so will mean you’ll magically end up at the right product. We need to think critically about how, when and why we’re doing research.
I Know I wrote that down somewhere…
Recently, Viget has been working on a fast-paced product redesign. To ensure they make the right design decisions along the way, they’ve integrated user testing over the length of the project. Each week, they run five 30-minute sessions where they interview a participant and show them designs they developed.
They found it challenging to record and analyze their sessions, so they developed a solid system to both track and make sense of their observations during testing.
I Feel Your Pain (and your gains)
Empathy Maps help to rapidly put your team in the user’s shoes and align on pains and gains — whether at the beginning of a project or mid-stream when you need to re-focus on your user. Empathy Map is a tool that helps designers empathize with the people for which they are designing a solution. With empathetic mapping the designer/developer put themselves in the position of the user. Empathy Maps can also be used to test a prototype design or in activities such as role playing to help better understand the needs of the user.
Before you hit send, ask yourself this…
If you’re not talking to your customers and listening to their feedback, your product is destined to struggle. Intercom has found that sending highly targeted, open-ended questions is far more valuable and reveals more of what customers really think. However, if done wrong, you can end up with questions that don’t map to the information you need or answers from the wrong types of customers. This article outlines the key questions to ask yourself before starting to write a research message to your customers.