You’ve been working on a new release for a while, the team is excited about the new features being added, and the release day comes. The marketing team has been pumping out information to current users and new prospects, and then…
…the negative feedback comes rolling in.
Prospects that were on the verge of buying based on what was coming, are now a bit cold on the product.
Why would this happen? You know your product, your team knows the product and people have been asking for these new features. So it’s back to the drawing board, collecting all the negative feedback and combing through it for suggestions.
And, if you’ve been there, you were probably wondering what happened.
Knowing your product is great. Knowing your users is greater. This holds true for both external users (customers) or internal users (colleagues). And the latter is just as important! As I mentioned in another post, your internal user experience will be reflected in your external user experience. Every time.
You have the best chance of delivering what users want if you do user research before making final product decisions. Clickable prototypes or other types of visual walkthroughs are helpful. Feedback from those provides valuable feedback before it arrives in complaint emails.
User research isn’t without its challenges, though. Here are a few I’ve run into:
- How much is enough? I’ll admit un-scoped user research is frustrating. Make sure to find the right balance before diving into a ridiculously long effort.
- Does the user know what they want? In most cases, yes. In some, especially with brand new concepts, they may not. This is another reason to make sure you scope research efforts. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the proverbial rabbit hole.
- Unfamiliarity with User Research Process. I’ve been lucky enough to work with world-class user experience teams since the late 1990s. Like most techies, they frustrated me to no end at first. Once I understood the impact it had on the success of software development efforts, I was their biggest fan. Still am.
So before running down the new product or new feature road, please involve your user experience team and scope user research efforts. Instead of planning for a rewrite, you’ll have a product that better servers your customers.
What have been your experiences with User Research? Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on LinkedIn! You can also sign up below for my monthly newsletter to get a summary of new posts and other newsworthy items.
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