Why exposing the current user experience is so important

Will Grounds
Published April 13, 2023 by Will Grounds – UX Director

Without research and insight, you can’t truly understand the current experience your service or product is providing. And if you don’t know what your users currently find frustrating or delightful – how will you know what to keep, what to discard and what to fix?

Do you really know your users? 

Of course, many organisations tell us they already understand their users. They have NPS scores, run surveys and have Acorn profiles and Hotjar recordings.

Yet nearly every time we run a programme of moderated usability testing and interviews with a set of customers or screened participants, we play back valuable insights and themes they were completely unaware of.

In our experience, you really do have to observe users directly interacting with your products or services to fully understand their needs, expectations, and the challenges they may be facing. And you find out very quickly what is frustrating and what is delightful alongside the all-important ‘why’ that quantitative data just can’t provide.

A valuable side effect of remote user research

During and following the pandemic a large proportion of our user research programmes have been undertaken remotely as opposed to in-person. And because each remote session is recorded, it’s allowed us to create short video reels for our clients that document first hand both the joys and frustrations of what it’s like to be a user of their products and services. What we’ve noticed is that these video reels have had a real impact in getting stakeholders to sit up and listen! 

We often produce short video reels of participant interviews and usability testing that expose the key themes we encountered with the current user experience

Bringing back empathy

In many large organsations the executive team or senior decision makers often become distanced from their users over time. This is very normal – they don't have the time to sit in a contact centre and listen to half a day of support calls, for example.

The opposite issue we also encounter is that internal product and marketing teams are very close to their own solutions. It's almost impossible for them to view their websites and applications as a user for the first time.

And so having stakeholders sitting face to face, watching, and listening to users as they interact with their products and services provides visceral insights in ways that skim reading a user research report can’t truly convey. 

What we have also found is that condensing down 40+ hours of usability testing sessions and user interviews into a 30-minute video reel that focusses on the key themes that emerged, turns out to not only be highly impactful, but also convenient for busy stakeholders to watch in their own time.

Benefits of benchmarking the current user experience 

The importance of benchmarking the current user experience is that now we can begin making recommendations to improve the user experience. We work with our clients to define a UX strategy and product roadmap based on evidence rather than guess work. Because guessing is a dangerous and expensive game to play in the world of digital product and service transformation.

Measuring change 

Once teams begin implementing our recommendations or embarking on wider digital transformation projects, we then help them to regularly measure those changes so they can report on the improvements that have been made to the user experience. Once stakeholders start to see positive outcomes and commercial results after following qualitative user research recommendations, they never look back!

Talk to us

If you are interested in learning more about the value of our qualitative user research programmes and how they can unlock digital potential within your organsation, please do get in touch.

Interested in working together?

To learn more about working with us, talk directly with Alastair on 0203 8876616 or email al@dotcentric.co.uk.