How you gather, manage, and use information will determine whether you win or lose.

- Bill Gates

At YITU Tech, we design complex enterprise products for policemen in wildly different positions under various use cases. Needless to say, user research plays a big role in our product design. But it has always been difficult to fully utilize the research findings, which were mainly in the form of lengthy reports and debrief meetings.

Project Duration

Summer 2018, 10 Weeks

Team

Youge Xiao Project Manager
Mingke Yu
Graphic Designer

My Role

Full-stack Designer

Key Skills

Generative Research
Story Telling
Visual Communication
Data Coding & Copy Writing

Success goals,
from micro to macro

Make research findings easy to locate, easy to read, and easy to use

Educate non-designer employees on the importance of research

Elevate the voice of our design team internally

Foster the empathy culture in the whole organization

Researching YITU’s current research system

Inside the design team, we observed and interviewed five designers on their daily design process. On the outside, we interviewed three employees from PM, Engineering and Business Development. Here is a collection of the insights I concluded:

At this stage, I also brainstormed a series of creative research deliverables, reflecting people’s need to read research in a more fun and engaging way. Early explorations included leaflets, comic decks, illustrated journey maps, checklists, stickers, Gantt charts, etc.

Design Solution:
A system of four distinct research deliverables

Knowing that different stakeholders have different needs, we decided to feature different information in a variety of deliverables. By identifying the audience of every deliverable, the research advocate system allowed our colleagues to easily locate the research findings that speak to them.

Resulted from their request for easy-to-navigate, easy-to-understand, and actionable insights — Stories, quotes, and numeric data play a key role in making the once dull and lengthy research results fun and engaging.

Empathy Posters

Results blah blah colleagues directly involved in product design. Colleagues who need to do research sessions on their own.

Empathy Booklets

Results blah blah colleagues directly involved in product design. Colleagues who need to do research sessions on their own.

Structuralized Insight Table

Results blah blah colleagues directly involved in product design. Colleagues who need to do research sessions on their own.

Original Reports

Results blah blah colleagues directly involved in product design. Colleagues who need to do research sessions on their own.

Impact: Sustainable empathy

The project didn’t end when the solution was launched. We set a few maintenance rules in order to make a more sustainable impact, including on-going feedback collection and proactive cooperation with other departments. Our efforts have successfully advocated for research both internally to multiple departments and externally to clients and guests.

It’s not only the product team - Leaders from Engineering, BD and Pre-sales all find the booklets very helpful and are asking for extra copies.

Youge Xiao, Design Lead at YITU

Whenever Leo (our CEO) invites guests for an office tour, he would proudly introduce those posters to them. 

Xiangwei Zhu, VP Design at YITU

A project never ends

This is the project that has given me my toolset to communicate with stakeholders whose backgrounds are drastically different from me. The interview muscles I trained there have been helping me in each and every research ever since.

Tapping into how companies advocate research has also become an on-going side-project of mine, especially those with complex organizational structures or solving problems for (multiple) complex audiences.

After this summer internship, I started collecting articles and asking people questions casually on the Internet and in offline events. I realized that while this topic is discussed from time to time, people are using many different vocabularies, such as “practical approach to user research”, “democratizing research”, “presenting design research”, “user research deliverables”…

As a result, such resources are scattering everywhere, making it difficult for UX researchers and designers (who are usually busy enough) to utilize research in their organizations.

Therefore, I have been working on a blog post devoted to collecting what research deliverable works better under what situation, for what audience, at which stage of research, as well as their practices in the field, all in one place. I’m hoping this article can serve as a starting point for people to develop the best research advocate solution to their own organizations.

This post is still being drafted. Meanwhile, you are more than welcome to take a look at my other Medium posts.