We take a look behind the curtain to reveal how we incorporate UX research into our product design and development lifecycle, through the lens of our Product Management, Design, and Product Research teams.
The benefits of running UX research at every stage of design and development are clear: It allows user insight to guide the process, ensuring confident, data-driven decisions at every stage. This helps to avoid costly mistakes, and save the company money, time and resources right from the discovery phase.
But how do you begin incorporating UX data and insights? How do you develop an understanding of your target audience and test with your own users, throughout development?
To help answer these questions, we’re revealing how UserZoom integrates UX research into our own product lifecycle, from three key areas of our organization: the Product team, the Design team, and our Product UX Research team--who uses our own platform to test the UserZoom experience.
We go through the same challenges as our customers, we have the same needs and motivations to build a great digital experience. But we’re also in a unique position because we offer a user experience solution, and our users are UX professionals. This puts us acutely under the microscope.
The way we deal with this is to make continuous iteration part of our culture. As Alfonso de la Nuez, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, says, “Its part of our culture is to be data-driven, to be obsessed with customer experience, to have a kaizen mentality--it’s all about making constant improvements and incremental gains.”
You can meet the team in the following video, or if you’d like more detail read the full interviews below…
With Andrew Jensen, SVP of Product, Anna Barba, VP of Design, and Rose Leitner, Lead Product UX Researcher.
Just like our customers, we make user research a primary input to how decisions are made across the three phases of our product development lifecycle. These three phases include roadmap validation, design iteration, and UX measurement.
In our product team, user research has been an integral component to identify where we're providing value to our customers, where there are gaps that exist today, where we need to continuously improve, and identify where we can drive more competitive differentiation.
Research has been very helpful in overcoming a common challenge that all product teams face out there, and that's defining the scope for innovation.
How do we identify what's providing the most value to our customers in the near term? What can we deploy with the resources available? And how do we best evolve that scope over time?
Providing answers to these questions is really where user research and customer research have been foundational and fundamental in making and supporting those decisions.
One of the first things that we do on the design team is to develop an understanding of the problem that we're trying to solve and what it is that we're trying to achieve. In our cyclical, iterative process, we want to make sure that we keep on adding value to the user journeys and the goals our customers are trying to achieve.
So when we want to have clarity about the problem and the goals, we start with ideation and the design thinking process. And during this phase, we explore different ideas and come up with possible solutions. And then we make sure that we validate them with research.
For example, when we were trying to come up with a solution for allowing our customers to set up availability on their calendars, to book sessions to run moderated sessions with participants. We started with ideation and understanding what were their needs and where we could make more impact. And so we prepared different proposals where you could have a monthly calendar view or a weekly calendar view.
But then we went back to talk to our customers and we found out that while the monthly calendar view was useful and some of them even preferred it, most of our customers run two-week research plans. So it was more helpful for them to have a weekly view as a default and it was adding more value to them.
The research helped us prioritize which of the features to focus on first and how to add the most value for our users.
Customers expect innovation and their mental models keep on changing as different digital experiences keep on evolving. What is perceived as the way to do a certain interaction right now, will evolve and change because some bigger influential platforms will improve and innovate on those interactions.
It’s important to note that we're not just validating assumptions here, we're questioning them at all stages of the process. Research on UserZoom happens throughout the product development lifecycle. Also, we don't just release and then forget about it. It's really important that we continue to measure. So we measure if what we released is performing well and if it positively impacts the users.
One of the things we've started doing is measuring our QXscore. And that helps us baseline the user experience and with that easy-to-understand score and the qualitative feedback we get, we can see the opportunities for improvement.
QXscore drives our iterative process. It not only baselines where your experience is right now but also highlights where there are still opportunities to make additional improvements, to influence your roadmap, and then iterate further.
It's also important to have a growth mindset and understand that we can continue to not only iterate on our product but also on our process. What we're doing should have a positive impact and we’re learning how to do that better in the future and iterate it quickly.