With the new year upon us many companies are evaluating their corporate strategies to succeed in the year to come. This often begins by looking at what worked well in the past year and what could be improved on. Whether it’s individual teams, the product, or a combination of both, the key to continued success and improvement lies in developing an ambitious yet achievable strategy that aligns business goals, product goals and research goals.
In this article we will discuss a few pointers to kick-start your UX research strategy for a successful year.
An important place to start before diving into specifics like a site redesign or decreased call volumes is to focus on the larger business goals of the company for the coming months and quarters. Often, giving the previous year’s performance a long, hard look is where this begins. What worked last year? What didn’t? What’s the competition doing? These serve as a guideline to the bigger picture while developing more specific goals to achieve a larger company-wide goal.
For example, at any given point product roadmaps may or may not include objectives such as “increased conversion rates.” The real question is how to achieve this – is it primarily something on the product side, or could there be more and better marketing for the product? Does sales need to be better educated?
This is why it’s important to broadly consider marketing, sales or other business goals in addition to user experience and customer experience goals when forming your corporate strategy.
When the corporate strategy is refined and agreed upon, it’s time to get more granular by defining a product roadmap. As we’ve mentioned before, a successful Product Manager relies on their knowledge and expertise of the product and its users to create a shared game plan amongst UX, UI and design teams.
Using our previous example of increased conversions, this is when a Product Manager can draw from their customer research and point out areas for improving based on customer feedback– whether that’s the user interface, the overall look and feel, the ease with which users can complete core tasks, etc. For the moment this is still “big picture” thinking but with a definitive focus on where researchers need to devote their time and energy.
This is where researchers get even more granular by crafting a strategic overview with specifics on how to meet the proposed product roadmap. A good UX Roadmap is a defined list of all research goals put into a timeline and development schedule to ensure that product and design phases are met on time and on budget.
One benefit of crafting a timeline is that researchers can allow for multiple product releases as well as ongoing optimization of current sites and products, allowing design and iteration to happen simultaneously for more agile and efficient research. Another benefit is that accounting for multiple projects also helps allocate budget effectively throughout the year.
By defining what deliverables are needed to enable success, which studies are needed to achieve them, and a timeline to deliver results enables companies to be in control of their research and ensure every step is working towards the larger product and business strategies.
Success, as our CEO Alfonso de la Nuez loves to point out, is when preparation meets opportunity. By aligning your UX research strategy with corporate goals and product roadmaps you are preparing for a successful year of innovation and optimization. Stay tuned for next time when we discuss the right type of research study for each phase within the UX Roadmap.