In case you missed the introduction to this series, I’ll be identifying one product management user research pitfall per post. Missed the previous mistakes? Catch up!
Mistake #1 Mistake #2 Mistake #3 Mistake #4 Mistake #5 Mistake #6 Mistake #7
Mistake #8: Not Structuring or Prioritizing the Insights
YOU’VE JUST COME BACK FROM A RUSH of customer visits across the nation. You have pages and pages of notes, and now you need to figure out how to make sense of it all — for yourself, and for the rest of the development organization. What’s more, you need to balance all of those ideas with your own internal stakeholders’ requests.
Giving the raw data to the development team is a recipe for disaster, so paring down the information into well-defined requirements usually falls on the prod¬uct manager or business analyst’s shoulders.
Structuring this data and these requirements using formal methods is the key. We recommend applying, at a minimum, the following four stage pattern:
Identify User Groups – Identifying who will use the product informs feature and design decisions. These can be illustrated through the use of User Personas, which often take the form of fictional characters representing the different user types that have similar needs, goals and behaviors when using a product.
Identify Tasks – Identifying the operations that user groups want to perform lets you determine what features to prioritize and helps the UI designer deter¬mine the overall information architecture.
Clarifying the Context of Use – Knowing the circumstances, the common physical and organizational environments, under which users will use the prod¬uct and features will yield the information you need to make it easy for users to accomplish tasks quickly.
Developing Usage Scenarios – Organizing requirements in the form of com¬mon scenarios for the use of the application is a clear and intuitive way of illus¬trating how features will be used beyond just presenting a set of requirements. It is even more powerful when you combine these user scenarios with the user personas, painting a real-life picture of users and their tasks.
As a general rule, if you can organize and classify around user types, context and usage scenarios, and tasks, you’re on the right path.
About the Author
Lorraine Chapman is a management and User Experience Research professional at Macadamian Technologies. In addition to her role as Director of User Experience Research, Ms. Chapman has provided a broad range of clients (within the Healthcare, Telecommunications, Government, and Finance sectors) with strategic direction on business, product and customer issues. This experience includes product value analysis, user requirements research (both qualitative and quantitative) and usability analysis/evaluation of websites, services (eCommerce and eBusiness), applications, software, hardware and documentation. Lorraine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org