User Research: Tips for better design inputs

I am always fascinated by how little companies know about their customers. Lack of knowledge about customers’ wants and needs is especially prevalent in B2B and B2B2C businesses.

In a Business to Business model, knowing what your customer wants and, more importantly, knowing what your clients’ customers want, will lead to a better understanding of the market and more bang for your buck in the innovation process. Instead of taking the loudmouth approach, and prioritizing the project that has the most noise surrounding it, prioritize projects the market will later want. When you innovate with the future in mind, you easily create market traction.

In order to better understand your market needs, it is useful to conduct user research. As opposed to market studies, user research will bring back real data from the real world and, as a result, transform insights into tangible outcomes.

The greatest challenge of user research is to get strangers to talk freely about their needs and wants within a matters of minutes! User research is a science in which you interview a variety of people to learn more about their habits, needs, attitudes and reactions.

One must learn to suspend critical, judgmental and know-it-all attitudes and activate empathy to better understand customers’ behavior. For example, a medical devices company was looking to innovate a product for use in hospitals. Triode’s staff spent many hours in a hospital to better understand some of the stakeholders’ behaviour with the new product and to validate a change in the software interface. We discovered that nurses don’t have time to read instruction manuals or even instruction placards, so any changes needed to be seamless for the users.

When you have exact knowledge of the reality, you are able to address risk head on and reduce time to market and cost of innovation.

Patrick Sirois
www.triode.ca

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.



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