Quiz: How much do you really know about your users?

Regina Hong, UX Researcher

Regina Hong

UX Researcher

Picture this — a group of decision makers for a digital travel company gather in a boardroom (or on a Zoom call), to ponder product features for the upcoming quarter. There are a few ideas in the mix, but there’s only so much budget and time people have, so something needs to be prioritized. The question is, what? 

Prioritization matrices such as the impact-effort matrix are a common way of deciding this “what”. There’s a rubric involved, opportunities get ranked objectively, and everyone involved in this ranking is an expert, so whatever bubbles to the top must be a clear winner, and production can launch right away. Right?

Unfortunately, wrong. There are some experts that haven’t been invited to the table and they are arguably the ones that will make or break the success of your product — the users! After all, they are the ones who are the experts of their own problems.

And no, demographics alone (gender, age, location) are not sufficient as they don’t tell you about behavior. A 20 year-old who’s never owned a smart TV but is in the market for one might face similar issues as a 70 year-old who’s just purchased a smart TV. In this case, the similarity in their experiences is not around age, but rather, around their experiences with a particular technology. 

If your best answers for identifying your users’ needs are based only on anecdotal information or demographics, then you need more evidence through research. And while research is often deemed an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, studies have shown that every dollar spent in UX research yields $100 back and can reduce product development cycles by 33-50 per cent. UX research can also help you fix unknown (and costly!) issues, as in the case of this retailer making a simple, research-informed change to their checkout process, which led to an extra $15 million of sales in the first month

So, how much do you really know about your users? Read on for a rubric to help answer that question. 

Assessing your information on users

To help you get a quick handle on the amount of information you have on your users, we have compiled a rubric with six key questions important for any product. After you have assessed the data sources you have at hand to answer these questions, tally up your points to see what it reveals about the level of information you have on your users and the next steps you can take. 

Instructions for use

Rate the level of information access you have to answer the following questions according to the table below: 

  • 0 - We have no idea, as we have no customer data OR we are just about to enter a new product space/new market OR we last conducted user research more than three years ago OR we are in the midst of pivoting our product. 
  • 1 - We have some analytics data, but we have never heard directly from our customers OR we have done research in the past, but have new product ideas and haven’t gotten feedback yet from potential customers.
  • 2 - We have various data sources (analytics, surveys, A/B testing) and have an established qualitative and quantitative user research practice for a particular product.

What your score suggests

  • 0-5: Unknown. You have no/little information on customers’ needs, which makes it difficult to know whether your product actually meets their needs. This makes product development risky, as decisions are not rooted in evidence. Consider investing in analytics data and user research interviews to add more heft to your hunches. If you don’t know where to start or how to set up analytics data, Modus can help. 
  • 6-10: Somewhat known. You have some valuable analytics data to answer some questions, but some unknowns remain. For instance, you see users spending a lot of time on one page, but are they interested or are they just really stuck? Or maybe users are returning one product pretty frequently, but why is that the case? Not knowing could cost you in conversion opportunities, and it’s worth investing in user research to uncover if there’s something you are missing. Who knows? What you hear might turn into a gold mine of opportunities to build something bigger and better. If you are having trouble figuring out how to investigate these unknowns, Modus can build on what you already have and help you go further. 
  • 11-12: Well-known. Congratulations, you have a good amount of data and information to base your product decisions on! Keep up the good work. If you find yourself wanting to innovate more things than you have time for, Modus is here to work with you and your team. 
Regina Hong, UX Researcher
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Regina Hong

UX Researcher

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