At a B2B AI-driven startup I interned last summer, we design complex enterprise products for policemen in wildly different positions under various use cases. Needless to say, user research plays a huge role in our product design. But it has been difficult to fully utilize the research findings, which were mainly in the form of lengthy reports and debrief meetings.
This was the overarching finding during our research process. We observed and interviewed five product designers on their daily design process. Outside the design team, we interviewed three other employees from PM, Engineering and Business Development. Here is the collection of insights I concluded:
At this stage, I 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. But not all of them survived with the constraints of development and maintenance cost.
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 — Use cases, stories, quotes, and numeric data play a key role in making the once dull and lengthy research results fun and engaging.
Highly structuralized insights that are easy-to-locate and easy-to-filter for colleagues directly involved in product design, hence much more helpful in making design decisions.
Templatized documentation for colleagues directly involved in product design to check the highest level of detail. Also provide guides on field research for colleagues without research backgrounds.
We were proud that Vislizer made our research insights heard by more people, but we didn't forget to make the impact sustainable. We set up on-going feedback collection, and proactively encouraged other departments to cooperate on research. Our efforts have successfully advocated for research both internally to the whole organization and externally to clients and guests.
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 passion project of mine, especially when the challenge involves complex organizational structures and multiple audiences.
After this summer internship, I started collecting articles and interviewing designers and researchers casually. 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 to effectively utilize research in their organizations for UX researchers and designers (who are usually busy enough).
Therefore, I'm working on a blogpost collecting what research deliverable works better under what situation, for what audience, at which stage, as well as their practices in the field, all in one place. I’m hoping this can be a starting point for people to develop the best research advocate solutions for their own organizations.
This post is still being drafted. Meanwhile, you are more than welcome to take a look at my other Medium posts.