Let’s be real — who wouldn’t love access to an in-house usability lab? You know the one with the latest software nestled behind a shiny two way window capturing users’ micro reactions to your product? The reality is that the majority of designers don’t have this luxury. So what do you when you’re short on time, resources, users and the all mighty dollar?
You get practical. Here’s a quick guide on validating your work when time is of the essence:
1. Gain Clarity
Has the MVP (minimum viable product) been thoroughly defined?
What are the must-haves of the product?
How will this new design fit in with the current product ecosystem?
Are user behaviors tracked? If yes, awesome! You have quantitative research at your finger tips. Pull the data that’s most relevant to your project. If you don’t, make sure that all future user behavior is being tracked. The next time you’re faced with doing user research, you’ll at least have quantitative data to interpret.
Is the new design something that’s completely 100% new? Or is the product going to be a redesign, an augmentation to the current product and/or an addition to a product?
If so, are there colleagues who worked on the current build (product that’s live in production)?
Product members, engineers?
What do they remember?
Why were certain decisions made?
What were the assumptions?
What were the consequences of said assumptions?
2. Leverage Colleagues Work
Is there prior primary research that‘s reviewable? This could be previous discovery work conducted by a former researcher, fellow designer, product team member, etc..
Secondary research. Is there a product member that did initial market evaluation, compiled industry research finding, etc…
3. Check the Internet
Have other companies faced this similar issue?
Look to see what the Google’s and Airbnb’s of the world have validated with their top tier teams and deep pockets. Just keep in mind that they had to go through some tough decision-making and were focused on achieving goals for their defined user bases; so avoid the copy/paste syndrome.
Reach out to the online design community. Design Twitter, Designers on Medium and/or LinkedIn could help. Offer to buy someone a cup of coffee or return the favor and exchange design learnings.
4. Trust the Process
Lastly, remember to trust your gut. Then validate. The company and your colleagues have entrusted you with being able to executive and provide the best possible user experience for your users. YOU. CAN. DO. THIS!
Hope this helps! We’re currently looking for user researchers. DM if you have any questions or want to chat.