Just realized your profits are falling short of expectations due to product features that don’t quite fit? Or is your shrinking customer base complaining about an outdated design? Even worse: have you just stumbled upon scandalous reviews moaning about an app that’s impossible to navigate?
Now, let's talk about avoiding those digital Product Design hiccups that could cost your company a fortune!
Today, we’ll dive into why User Research is a key element to your success and how the SCALER Framework helps you craft products that rock!
Looking for a high ROI? Focus on User Research!
When it comes to digital Product Design, most Product Owners want to see prototypes as early as possible.
Even small mistakes can significantly impact your success!
Those who understand the power of User Research from day one immerse themselves in figuring out the needs, behaviors, and pain points of their audience, and follow proven methods to ensure the perfect product-market fit, minimize the risk of failure, and get it right the first time!
So, let’s see how the SCALER Framework prevents you from pouring resources into a potential product flop!
How the SCALER Framework helps to prime your product for success
With a strong focus on yielding high returns on your investment, the SCALER Framework of Product Design ensures your product aligns with business goals, solves real challenges, and is validated by potential customers.
User Research is a critical phase of the process, focusing on understanding the needs of your buyers throughout the entire user journey.
It allows you to design a seamless and delightful user experience, avoiding expensive rework and iterations later in development, amplifying conversion rates, boosting customer retention, and establishing a positive reputation in the market.
So, let’s take a glimpse at the specific steps of this vital phase!
1. Stakeholder Interviews
The "Research" phase of the SCALER Framework involves kickstarting each partnership by delving deep into the minds of your project's key players. These stakeholders may include company executives, employees, partners, suppliers, and other individuals in your organization.
Before devoting undivided attention to your target audience, this initial step is necessary to get an overview of the perspectives, needs, motivations, and expectations of the various stakeholders involved in the project, and gain an early insight into the potential risks and challenges.
Armed with your business goals as our guiding star, we use these invaluable findings to adjust the Stakeholder Maps and create Vision, Feature Map, and other design tools that help us find opportunities to give your product that coveted user-centric spin!
2. Customer Interviews
As a vital step of the User Research phase, Customer Interviews are used to get the hang of the challenges, needs, and motivations of your potential buyers.
This qualitative research method usually involves in-person, over-the-phone, or video interviews. We’ll determine the optimal number of participants to meet the project's objectives while keeping your budget in mind.
Unlike quantitative research methods such as User Surveys, Customer Interviews can offer unmatched insights into what your users crave.
Using the appropriate techniques, Customer Interviews allow people to share their real experiences and pain points, rather than leading them to predetermined answers. If done correctly, you’ll get those genuine "Aha!" moments, allowing you to craft something that'll have folks turning their heads with awe!
3. User Surveys
User Surveys serve as a tool for gathering data from a larger sample size of users.
This quantitative research method consists of a set of customized questions that aim to collect more information about user preferences, pain points, needs, and behaviors.
The insights are used to validate and refine User Personas and Customer Journeys, and prioritize features.
4. Desktop Research
As a supplement to the above-mentioned primary User Research methods, Desktop Research is used to gather further valuable insights into market trends, competitors, user behavior, and industry benchmarks and best practices.
This typically involves conducting keyword research, benchmarking, and trend analysis. The aim? To soak up all the knowledge about your market, industry, the hottest trends and best practices in the game!
5. Competitive Analysis
A further secret weapon of the Research phase is Competitive Analysis.
We’re talking about strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between!
What does this exactly mean?
We're not just stalking your rivals’ products and services; we're diving deep into their pricing strategies, marketing campaigns, and even how they woo potential customers.
This data goldmine is your ticket to uncovering those hidden opportunities and gaps in the market, and refining your product’s value proposition and differentiation strategy. Furthermore, Competitive Analysis can help identify potential threats and challenges that the new service might face in the market. A detailed SWOT Analysis will be created to assess your organization's competitive position and develop strategic planning.
6. Heuristic Analysis
Got a digital product or service up and running?
In this case, conducting a Heuristic Evaluation is a critical part of the User Research phase to assess the usability of your solution.
Your product will be evaluated against a set of predefined design principles. The heuristics used in the analysis may vary depending on the goals of the evaluation, but some common ones include visibility of system status, user control and freedom, consistency and standards, error prevention and recovery, and help and documentation.
The goal: to identify areas where your solution can level up and serve your users even better!
7. User/Customer Personas
Here’s where the journey gets even more exciting: the next stop on this adventure is all about creating Customer or User Personas!
This is a critical step of the User Research phase, as Personas help you tap into the minds and hearts of your target audience and make winning decisions throughout the design process.
But what exactly are User Personas?
They’re fictional representations of the characteristics, needs, behaviors, and goals of your target audience. Created based on previously researched data from real users during the Customer Interviews and Surveys, Personas include demographic information, such as age, gender, location, and education, as well as psychographic information, such as personality traits and motivations.
8. Customer Journey Maps
Our User Research journey doesn’t stop here yet: next, we’ll dive into Customer Journey Mapping!
This is a visualization technique that aims to capture your customer's entire experience of your service or product.
It allows you to identify pain points, opportunities for improvement, and key touch-points at each stage of their interaction with the service to trigger that WOW factor you’re longing for!
9. Service Blueprint
Arriving at the last stage of the Research phase means going several steps deeper and combining the user’s experience with all employee actions and support processes that may or may not be visible to the customer.
You got it right: Service Blueprints aren’t equal to Customer Journey Maps. In addition to focusing on the customer's experience, they include all the internal processes, people, and technology required to deliver the given service.
This helps to create a visible structure for implementing and achieving your operational goals, keeping your processes free from unnecessary complications and redundancies.
Unlock the power of User Research!
A thorough User Research phase of the Product Design process allows you to dive deep into your target audience’s world. By conducting Customer Interviews, User Surveys, Competitor and Heuristic Analysis, as well as crafting User Personas and Customer Journey Maps, you can validate your assumptions, understand user needs, and tailor your solutions to fit the market more effectively.
Time to say goodbye to those pricey Product Design headaches!