Thinking Out Loud

"Straight from the horse's mouth"
Oli Taylor Co-Founder, Absurd

Early feedback and the non-customer

Something we’ve been conscious about recently (more so than ever) is ensuring we involve customers as early on in our design process as possible.

The importance of this was instilled further through talks on thursday's UX Live conference. It was refreshing to hear designers from the likes of Duolingo, Babylon, The Home Office, The Times, as well as some great agencies all talking about the different ways they were ensuring insight and feedback was gathered early on. Even more so, it was great to hear some of the same great methods we’ve been introducing to ensure this happens, being described by the speakers. The main points being made is that with readily available (and free) technology, there is simply no excuse not to ensure this happens, even when timings or budgets are tight.

We recently ran a session to test whether a product we’ve been working on with Brother, was performing as we'd expected. We invited the product team in to observe the sessions so that they could see first hand how users were responding and interacting with the new design. With a couple of devices and the use of Lookback we were able to record and stream desktop and mobile prototype sessions from a meeting room, turned testing lab. For us, this was a very quick and cost effective way to gain insight, whilst involving the product team.

Interesting to hear others are creating even simpler setups to run remote sessions, relying on free software such as Zoom to stream sessions across multiples devices & locations. What’s great about simple tools like Zoom, is they allow participants to take part remotely without having to set up complex technology, they can simply click a URL and share their screen. It also means observers/clients can view the sessions from anywhere without interruption. It was historically perceived that face to face testing sessions were more effective in uncovering findings. Yet to think if we are running remote sessions where the facilitator can still facilitate, observe and ask questions during the session, then of course we should encourage participants to be use the service in their natural environment on their own devices. With the added benefit of saving time and budget in planning and organising the logistics of a face to face session.

“One non-customer is 100% better than none”

Another thing to mention which is a separate post in itself, is who should we be gaining this insight from? We hear all too often, “based on our customer data we know that this is our core audience, so we need participants that match these specific criteria”. A great point made by Chad Jennings, is that we should probably be being paying a lot more attention to our “non-customers”. By this he is talking about the (based on industry averages) 97% of users who didn't convert on your service and therefore not accounted for in your customer data. What do we know about these users and what can we learn of them to ensure they soon make up part of your customer data?

If you’d like to discuss our approach to building effective products and services in more detail, get in touch with the team; hello@thisisabsurd.com / +44 (0) 161 713 0430.