Apr 04, 2021 | by Budi Tanrim
When was the last time you talked to users?
What do people need?
Unfortunately, you can’t ask them this question directly. Users are not really good at predicting that. Well, if the users are good at it, then the company won’t hire you. No, you can’t send a survey and ask them, “Do you want this red pen?”
To find what people need, you want to understand their current workflow. You want to gain knowledge about their behavior, frustration, habits, or routines.
Common methods are diary study, field study, or interview.
If you have the luxury of time, then you can conduct the diary study. But, for most of us, we don’t have that. Then, interviews or observations become the best options. An interview is when you ask a lot of questions to the users. While observation—like field study—is to observe people in their most natural environment.
Observing people is fun and insightful.
Even if your team doesn’t have a researcher, you should try to observe or interview your users. In fact, early in my career, I didn’t even know there is such thing as a field study. In retrospect, we somehow did a quick and dirty version of it.
Our team makes a product for tax agents. Our team received many complaints. Many agents complain they can’t print the check correctly. We thought there was something wrong with our feature, and maybe we should redesign the flow. Then we decided to visit 3 offices. We realized their printer was the problem because each printer has its own different setting. Face up or face down? The order of the output will be different too, 1-2-3-4 or 4-3-2-1? The alignment will be off. This insight then becomes one of the keys for us to improve our experience.
You could assume and execute it. It’s faster, but is it better?
So, when was the last time you talked to users? What’s their frustration?
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