The importance of collecting client feedback

A look inside the 4C design process and the ways we incorporate user research

A little about me

As a User Experience Designer, my job is to make it easier and more enjoyable for people to interact with technology. I love my profession because one of my biggest job responsibilities is doing something I already love: talking to people to better understand their thoughts and needs.

This past June, I made an exciting career move to join the product team here at 4C. I’m grateful to have joined a design-led team that’s just as passionate as I am about usability and the value of collecting client feedback.

Let’s start by talking about user research

We are not our customers. No matter how many ideas we come up with for new client features, we aren’t the ones that will be using them at the end of the day. When you involve your actual customers in your design process, you learn that they need your product to work a little differently than you first imagined.

Incorporating this feedback and getting things right the first time is smarter, easier, and cheaper than jumping to conclusions and fixing problems later. Especially as a newcomer to the digital marketing industry, every client meeting I’ve attended has been incredibly informative. I always leave with a better understanding of our customers’ needs and about a dozen new ideas for our platform. Investing in user research always produces valuable results, and it’s not as hard or expensive as you might think. The alternative actually costs a lot more: after launching a product, it’s 100x more expensive to go back and make changes once you find out the customer needs something different.

But there are still challenges in this process

At 4C, we’re working on a lot of projects simultaneously that have some pretty aggressive deadlines. On top of that, it’s difficult to tailor our product to many different clients who each have unique expectations from our platform. Budgeting time for user research isn’t always easy, and it’s challenging to design a minimum viable product (MVP) that’s flexible enough for everyone.

We also understand that user research is still a new concept to a lot of people and doesn’t always float to the top of a product manager or executive’s to-do list. Part of our responsibility as the product team is to stand up for good user-centered design and advocate for user input as a key part of our design and development process.

Our strategy and goals for the future

Something we’re always pushing for is effective cross-team communication. It’s important for us to work closely with product management, software development, and client engagement to make sure we’re all on the same page and moving toward the same goal. Instead of just delivering the finished prototypes for new UI features, we’re trying to shed more light on our design process so our colleagues can better understand how we arrived at our decisions.

One of the ways we’re testing this is by presenting our research findings and design assets around different parts of the office. You’d be surprised how many people stop and stare when they walk past a whiteboard full of sticky notes or wireframes. I love when people stop on their way by to ask what’s on the wall — it’s a perfect opportunity to walk them through a new idea and ask for their perspective. Another fun way to capture feedback is by posting A/B tests on the office fridge for people to vote on during their lunch break. We’re not all centrally located, however, so we’ll have to keep working on new ways to open up our design process across a remote company.

Moving forward, we plan to continue evangelizing UX by experimenting with new forms of design reviews and workshops. I’m also excited to continue strengthening our relationship with the customer engagement team so we can create an even better pipeline for receiving client feedback on a regular basis. Especially when we’re designing a brand new feature or integration, we hope to include usability testing as a core requirement in our project planning.

Lastly, to practice what I preach, I’d love your feedback on this blog post! Please let us know what you think and share suggestions for future content. We’ll be iterating on our blog just like we iterate on design.