Using our collective understanding of the problem defined when approaching a new product or feature, our next step is to learn as much as possible from potential users about whether our solution will be beneficial to them.
First up we work with our Product Owner or client to work out what it is we want to learn from user research, and then determine the best approach for the project, for example if we carry out interviews or use questionnaires. The goal is to better understand how our potential users currently approach the problem we’re trying to solve and to take what we learn to help us solve their problems better.
Once we have a solid understanding of our customers’ problem, we’ll carry out a competitor analysis activity to see if other people are solving the problem, and how, and spot ways we can do it even better.
This has benefits for everyone, as we can review competitors in the similar space and assess what they are doing well, what they may be missing, revenue models and how similar they are to our business model.
Inspirational design research
Another important activity is to ensure what we’re creating stands out in the market, but also appeals to your customers. We’ll carry out inspirational design research, looking at what your competitors are doing that we really admire, as well as looking at how other markets may be solving similar problems.
At the end of these research activities, we stand a much better chance of creating a solution with a competitive advantage. When approaching solutions we can refer back to the data we collected to ensure that what we’re creating is the right thing for your customers.
To carry out this activity we use a tool called Airtable, a cloud based web application that we can easily share with all stakeholders. Airtable is great for collecting data of this nature as the application provides different ways of displaying the data. When collating data from user interviews, we can use ‘grid view’ which is like a more traditional spreadsheet. But for design research, the ‘grid view’ is great as the images are more prominent. And you can add GIFs.
If you need help to discover more about your end users and a team to design, build and support your next website, digital product or online service, we'd love to hear from you.