Just something I learnt to know my user

“I am not a good designer, but I care about people.”

That’s what I say to myself once I struggled : listen to users or trust my gut.

Design for people is seems to be easy when you don’t give a *uck about user. When I work on a product (like JIRA Agile), ignoring user is suicide action. In digital application era, understanding users is even more critical task. HOW? that’s big question, let’s break it down into smaller ones:

Do we have Metrics? Analytics? Heat map? or Research?

But First why do we need metrics? What kind of behavior you want to know about? how is it affect the design? what is the trigger point / number? What is the design decision “if … then we will design/remove/modify… “ ? — Make it a REAL PLAN or what you ask below will lead to nowhere.

How long do you track? what is the trigger events that relevant to your questions plan?

Collecting is hard when you don’t have any product to test. It mostly happens with Startups or pilot products. If lucky sometimes, I have metric information about the product, to see what is unexpected things ( and funny behaviors ) can be.

  • What is the best metric I can get to support my decision? Ex: summary usage of feature or should I get average number of times each user use it, or both? — stick with the plan and ask wisely.
  • Anyone can tell me what is the insights from those beautiful chart? — Better ask the guy who do it for you or BA or researcher or you DIY
  • What happened at a significant change? — Investigate it, might be a change in feature, onboarding presence, new introduction, …
  • Is that enough metric to certify my Hypothesis? — Need more? Ask more.
  • A/B testing or usability testing is good at the right time. Otherwise, it’s wasting.

However, don’t stuck with the metrics. Take it as a very important reference but it’s not all the perspective you can get. Metrics sometimes is not the fastest way to answer the questions.

Get out, talk to the one who use and pay for your shit!

No joke, it’s serious business maaaannnn! I follow those steps:

  1. Plan what you want to know about your design
  2. Investigate the problem
  3. Plan the questions ( NO leading questions, can start with What, How then Why). If there are multiple tasks questions, break the questions plan accordingly. One thing at a time.
  4. Choose candidates, spend time getting their background as much as possible before contact. It will optimize the conversation.
  5. Prepare tool to record. Prefer common and free tools, digital or physical. Skype or Quicktime or else.
  6. Follow their reactions when you ask. Give them time to think, silence for a while is ok, no worries.Always open questions at the end
  7. Document the sessions with the record. Extract what you learn.

Here is what I learned from those steps:

  • Be earlier, well prepared
  • Not all the user will answer the invite email
  • Better go with a teammate, PM (I am grateful to my PM, Martin J), designer ( thanks my senior Designer ) who was thoroughly the plan that he can support you, even help you interview user. And it will be better to have more perspective on one user.
  • Not with a Gang
  • Not all the conversation is useful
  • Don’t let user rule the show but don’t scare them.

Bottom line: Designer is not a servant, designer is a balance keeper between tech and the user experience. Get to know the product and the user at the same time is a must. Do it wise and flexible.

…or do I miss anything?