How can you make usability research relevant to all of your stakeholders without bogging the whole team down in a morass of data?
For the UXer, extracting insights from the data isn’t the end goal; the findings, rather, are a tool for spurring necessary changes to the product. Thus the challenge is to engage the whole team with those findings and achieve alignment within the team so that the product can move forward.
This is a tricky proposition, though. Watching all of the video results is neither feasible nor necessary for every team member; much as it may add to the nuance of the analysis, the time investment will almost always be insurmountable for most stakeholders.
It falls to the UX Researcher to watch all of the results and identify key findings, judge what is important and what isn’t, and then persuasively communicate these to decision-makers.
To achieve his or her goals, therefore, what the UX Researcher really needs is a way to easily pinpoint and reference critical, demonstrative moments in the results to back up their arguments and justify making changes to the design.
The decision-maker’s objective, on the other hand, is to make an informed decision about the direction of the product without wasting too much time on the specifics.
What the decision-maker needs to achieve their goals is an efficient means of knowing and understanding the issues, and seeing the evidence needed to green-light changes.
The goal of the designer, for their part, is to see why particular design elements work or do not work, and then use that information to create new solutions based on real user behavior.
For the designer to achieve his or her goals, they need to be able to directly access the results and witness users interacting with the product at key junctures and hear their thoughts and reactions when they run into walls.
More: Coordinating a UX dream team
Conceptualizing a UX research workflow
Given these specific goals and responsibilities, one can flesh out a picture of a team UX workflow that engages every stakeholder with the data at the appropriate level of involvement and achieves the goals of all involved, as well as the team as a whole.
The researcher mines for insight and patterns, categorizes and synthesizes large amounts of feedback, and makes note of key teachable moments.
The designer reviews the researcher’s work, observes the critical interactions, and deepens the analysis of the results with their own unique contributions and insights.
The product manager or other decision-maker weighs the recommendations of the researcher, substantiated by video highlights, user quotes, or other data, as well as the input and suggestions of the designer, and decides the course of the next sprint.
More: Dissection of a UX Team
Tools for the team that collaborates
As we at TryMyUI have built a platform for teams to collaborate on their UX research, this workflow and the goals of the individual team members have guided our approach.
The first big piece of the puzzle for us is annotations: a way for each account member with whom the video results are shared to add tagged, timestamped notes the whole team can see and access. This is primarily for researchers – the tags make it easy to identify and keep track of use patterns and recurring issues, and the timestamps with one-click playback are an easy way to share key moments and highlights that make the case for design changes.
If there is more than one researcher, such a feature enables a more efficient division of labor, allowing everyone to see at a glance the primary takeaways of each video, whether or not they have watched it in full.
For the designer, being able to see the researcher’s annotations makes it simple to locate important teaching moments and then watch them him or herself to more firmly grasp the issues. They can also add their own insights, and with author-based filtering the whole team can read the designer’s unique input and perspective on the data.
The other big piece is the UX Insights summary: a way to create a compact list of top findings from the test data and share it with stakeholders. With all the important points consolidated into one place, such a feature cuts away the extra and delivers only what the decision-maker needs to know to move forward. Because it is integrated with the rest of the platform, though, the video evidence that substantiates each recommendation is just one click away for any viewer.
With all these elements in place, implementing an efficient UX research workflow that puts the team into alignment and turns the wheels towards reaching product goals is a seamless exercise. And with everyone working on the same platform, this highly replicable exercise can be an ongoing process that continues to power your usability team across product sprints or different projects.
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[…] I never feel comfortable embarking on a project without getting a few extra brains in on it, so the team comes together and exchanges ideas, discusses the challenges of the project, and thinks about solutions. (Usually […]