Sharing my experience of user-centric product development

Steve Farrugia
2 min readApr 27, 2017


A few weeks ago, I was asked by Morag McLaren of to contribute to an ‘expert opinions’ piece on how we involve our users in the product development process.

In the digital product team at Trinity Mirror, we develop means for our readers to consume our content. – on our websites, in our apps and on distributed platforms, such as AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, and Apple News. We also look after the products our editorial teams use to produce and publish said content.

I discussed how we engage with our colleagues in editorial team across the UK and Ireland.

As one of the UK’s leading news publishers, we have to build products for our customers and editorial colleagues across the country.

Workflows can vary from person to person, and between regional offices. We often see people taking the shortest path, but there are also those who take the long way round to completing a task.

When we identify a problem – or a perceived problem – we observe the process(es) and talk through them with the editorial users. We also have to consider how different teams, with different needs complete tasks. Talking to a good sample of people is crucial.

We share designs and product updates with stakeholders on a regular basis, including those from others areas of the business. This ensures that a solution is not causing new issues elsewhere. This is a huge risk in a large company such as ours.

When the updated product or feature is ready, we like to test with a sample of users to see if it has the desired effect – or if further iteration is needed before a full release. This gives various teams the opportunity to engage with us in the product team. It allows them to be part of the development process – to create solutions to the problems they and their colleagues (countrywide) are having.

Please have a read of the 27 other experiences from across different industries with different types of products.


On the back of this, I was lucky enough to be invited to share my experiences in person to the French product community at Product Tank Paris – I am on the journey to the Dashlane offices in Montmartre as I type, trying to take my mind off the fact I will shortly be talking in front of a group of 70 people.

I hope to share an update in the coming days on how it went! Wish me luck!