Best Practices for Transforming User Feedback to Insights
Designers and UX researchers realize the value of getting customer feedback, but that’s just one step in the overall process. Here are four tips for not only collecting user feedback, but using it to drive lasting change in the end product.
1. Get to Know Your Customer
Once you have your first customer profile written down, go out and meet these people or businesses. Talk with them and observe them in their natural environment.
Decide what you want to know and why. It’s easy to collect data, but it’s less easy to make sense of it if you don’t have some foundation for what you’re trying to do and why.
2. Align With Stakeholders on Hypothesis
It’s ok to start with assumptions at first. After all, in an imperfect world there is no average customer, no one who has all the data or resources. You must make some trade offs and go with your gut as to how to solve the customer problem while being open to pivoting, iterating, and restarting the process if you are proved wrong.
Have some initial meetings with stakeholders and partnering teams to give them a heads up on why this area could use improvement, as well as its resulting benefit for customers.
3. Collect Data
Collect a variety of qualitative and quantitative data to avoid the potential pitfall of bias. Usually technology-savvy collaborators depend heavily on numbers (quantitative data). But there is also value in figuring out the “why” and “how” behind the numbers, which is best done through qualitative research methods such as user interviews. These types of methods can be described as narrow but deep; they go into the emotional aspects of the “how” and “why” of a particular issue.
Another method is to co-design with a smaller group of customers, to speed up this process. Your customers are the best source of insights, so be sure to engage with a larger audience once a more stable prototype is ready after the process of converging and diverging from several design alternatives.
As a rule of thumb, anyone who conducts research should aim to be neutral (to avoid collecting biased results), friendly (to ease their audience), and have a scientific mindset (to have curiosity, dedication and an open mind about data). To minimize bias, use neutral language, non-leading questions, and avoid steering the conversation with a customer. They should have the freedom to express themselves free form without too much incentive to answer in a certain why.
4. Create a Plan for Communicating Results
You might have collected great insights and data from research and talking to customers, but it takes some strategy to make the results effective.
Actionable, goal-focused, and prioritized; insights should never be about passing information over to your collaborators/stakeholders without some recommendation. As the UX professional, you should make the information understandable, engaging, and focus on why its important to fix these issues. Answer questions like:
What goal are you trying to achieve?
What are are you trying to improve?
Why does it matter?
This last step is crucial for making sure all the hard work in collecting and analyzing the UX research doesn’t go to waste.