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5 ways to make user research part of your team’s daily life

April 9, 2019ResearchStartups3m read

The success of a product or service heavily relies on the degree to which the people creating it understand their users. This task usually falls to designers and researchers, who have the difficult challenge of getting into the heads of users and deeply understanding their needs, behaviors, pain points, and emotions. While user research can be time consuming, when done right, it will make or break your product.

Large percentages of users will halt business with a company after just one negative experience. Conducting proper user research will provide valuable insights that help you retain users and generate leads. Without it, you may not be able to pinpoint the needs of your users or understand the context of their use. In a nutshell, user research allows companies to marry their product and business strategy with the needs of their users.

Product managers, developers, and the rest of the product team are key players when it comes to user research. They know the product better than anyone else, so involving them in your user research process bridges the (sometimes wide) gap between your team, your stakeholders, and the end users. It helps them fully understand what it’s like to be on the other side of the product. Here are a few easy ways to get them involved.

A collection of envelopes on a table

1. Set up an email newsletter to share recent insights

Insights are most effective when shared directly with your team, and what better way than a summary sent directly to their inbox. Key summaries of recent research findings from usability testing, customer interviews, or survey results will help your team operate more efficiently and with a clearer understanding of your user’s needs. While this research can be divided up between individual departments, a company-wide email newsletter creates a centralized dialogue that allows your user’s voice to be heard.

Several people sitting around a table in a meeting

2. Cover top support themes during retro

Sprint retrospective is a place for your team to come together and reflect on the past sprint or milestone. While it’s great for reviewing internal processes and wins / losses, why not make it more customer-centric by sharing a few themes from customer support?

And if you don’t have easy access to the support inbox, try presenting a summary of any testing or interviews that were completed during the sprint. This is where Dovetail’s insights feature becomes a powerful way to summarize and share insights in a bite-size form without unnecessary detail from your raw notes or analysis.

Two people sitting in front of a laptop in a meeting room

3. Get colleagues to participate in usability testing

Usability testing is a way to see how easy to use something is by testing it with real users. When your team members and stakeholders participate in usability testing, they are exposed to how well the product fares with real users in terms of ease-of-use, intuitiveness, memorability, navigation, delight, and more.

We suggest teams capture notes collaboratively in real time on platforms like Notion, Google Docs or Dovetail. Dovetail is great for aggregating and analyzing the findings across sessions before finally creating short, sharp insights as a summary.

4. Take teammates with you on customer visits

Directly meeting and observing people using your product will have a huge impact on building user empathy and deepening your teammate’s understanding of user needs. This is especially true for those who aren’t in regular customer-facing roles like developers.

Reach out to a few local customers and ask if you can visit their office. Bring one or two teammates along as a photographer and note-taker. Users are typically happy to share their voice, and in giving them the opportunity, you also provide an avenue in which the user feels valued, thus strengthening their bond with your company.

Two people sitting in front of a computer screen

5. Make analysis collaborative and get everyone tagging

User research is a team sport! Collaborative research analysis boosts the effect of your research and improves your internal research practice. Working as a team means that all interests are covered. All roles and maintain a stake in both the collection and analysis, the result of which will benefit all parties. Collaborative tagging in Dovetail provides a fun and intuitive way for everyone to get involved in research analysis and helps you break down longer documents like transcripts or notes in less time.

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