Spilling the beans on using Gousto

How regularly talking to our customers helps improve our product

Kelly Batchelor
Oct 8 · 6 min read

We’re a chatty bunch at Gousto. From nattering over how to improve our basket functionality to debating where in the UK each Harry Potter character would live (that’s right, we’ve put Voldemort in the Barbican), we love to talk. That doesn’t stop within the team — we love talking to our customers too. Finding out what our customers think about Gousto, understanding their needs, pain points and getting a grasp on how they use our product is a crucial part of our design process here.

Why is user research so important?

2 Validating our concepts before releasing them into the wild
You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it round the block for a test spin first, right? The same applies with our designs. Once we’ve decided on what we think is our best bet, we’ll show it to a small sample of people to gather their thoughts. This mitigates the risk of building a feature straight away and gives us a chance to iterate and improve based on the feedback we hear. This user-centric approach ensures that the design we land on is the best it can possibly be before we roll it out.

3 Keeping up with evolving customer needs
In the fast-paced world of technology, the only constant is change (you heard it from Heraclitus first). With products and lifestyle choices ever evolving, the needs and desires of our users are naturally changing in parallel. Having a regular touch point with customers about how they go about their daily lives will allow us to understand if we’re truly addressing the correct needs at the right time.

How do we talk to our customers here at Gousto?

Moderated research involves talking directly with the user in an interview-like fashion. We like to keep these interviews as informal as possible to put who we’re talking to at ease. Typically, we’ll show the customer what we’ve been designing in the form of a visual or prototype, and get the user to walk and talk through it, feeding back their insightful comments. These interviews would ideally be face-to-face, but due to the changing state of the world, we’ve managed to conduct them remotely and continue to glean some fantastic insights.

Unmoderated research is also often used to solidify the usability of our designs — this is a remote research technique where the user completes tasks and questions of their own accord without interference from the interviewer. Our go-to tool for unmoderated research is UserZoom, which allows the team to record sessions, has a suite of different task types to suit the objectives of our studies, and even has a support and education section for us to brush up on our research skills.

💡Top tip: If you have the time, conduct a mixture of moderated and unmoderated user research. In moderated research, the interviewer (us) can jump in at any point and ask relevant questions while the user is completing tasks. With unmoderated, we can immediately see if and when a user is struggling with a task, and how they would go about completing it without prompt.

A screenshot of a user interacting with a prototype through unmoderated testing on UserZoom

Understanding how users structure information
If we want to test anything related to navigation or information architecture, we tend to opt for card sorting and tree-jacking. These help us to see exactly how a customer organises and orders information in a way that makes sense to them. We can then spot trends and patterns in dendrograms, which help us make informed decisions about how to order and structure content and information in a user-centric way. We’re currently re-looking at our menu navigation, which lends itself perfectly to this type of research.

Here’s a snippet of dendrogram in action, showing how customers group the categories on our tasty menu 😋

Capturing live feedback
Sometimes we’ll want to capture feedback at the exact moment of a customer carrying out a task. Collecting responses to tasks or actions within context can help us gather more representative information.

For instance, a user is struggling to add a meal into their basket on our website. We ask them there and then to rate their experience. We’re more likely to capture an accurate response from our users this way, as opposed to emailing them a similarly structured ‘rate your experience’ survey a week or so later when their frustration will have faded.

We use a tool called Hotjar to indirectly communicate with our users, and are starting to use an even more powerful tool called Ribbon to directly chat with our customers (if they’d like to!) at the point of them carrying out tasks on our website in order to glean as much contextual feedback as possible.

💡 Top tip: Make sure to use any live intercept tools mindfully — you don’t want a million pop-ups blocking the user from their original task or you really will get some interesting feedback.

Continuous discovery
Finally, we aim to set up continuous generative interviews on a regular cadence. These are interviews that often don’t have a rigid structure, but rather they encourage users to recall stories around their specific experiences with Gousto. Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have told me ‘a faster horse’”. Asking users directly what they want rarely uncovers the true job to be done. Continuously interviewing in this recall format also helps us to reliably uncover any opportunities we may not have otherwise been keeping an eye out for.

💡 Top tip: We’ve been reading Continuous Discovery Habits by Teresa Torres to help us frame and shape our generative interviews into opportunity spaces, and would highly recommend it if you want to brush up on your discovery techniques.

Using Teresa Torres’ snapshot method to concisely capture insights and synthesis findings from each customer we have a natter with 💬 And yes, that’s me in the photo, hiya 👋

Conclusion

The way we do things at Gousto is ever-changing, but we like to think we’ve got some solid research foundations in place with the customer at the heart of what we do.

Gousto Engineering & Data

Gousto Engineering & Data Blog