User experience strategy has the most impact on the success or failure of the digital product. To make project a success you have to get all your ducks in the row. I have gathered an ultimate list of questions that have to be asked in the strategic user experience planning phase.
For a warmup let’s kick off with the three core questions which you should be able to answer clearly once successfully implement my suggestions in this post:
1. What are you building?
2. Who are you building the product for?
3. What value it will provide for your customers and your business?
Product strategy, business strategy and user needs are the most important aspects of a successful product. A good strategy will make the other parts of your project go smoothly.
WARMUP STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEWS
It is critical to identify all of the organisations and people who may have an impact on the project, and all those who may be impacted by the project. A “stakeholder” is any person or organisation that is actively involved in a project, or whose interests may be affected positively or negatively by execution of a project. UX designers have to understand you how all of the key stakeholders see the success.
Key questions to ask in stakeholder interviews
- How each of your stakeholders see the success of the project?
- How they all think, the product will have an impact on the organization?
- What are the biggest challenges, which the product will help to solve?
- Are there any changes in organization, which could affect the product in the near future?
What the other companies with products in your competitive environment do well and what are the downsides of their products. You will capitalize on their weaknesses.
Key competitor review quesitons:
- Do people like what these companies offer?
- Can you find anything that people don’t like about your competitors?
- Do you understand what competitors are good at, what are their week spots?
- Are the week spots of the competitor products can be turned into your product features, to gain your own unique competitive edge?
For example, if you are building a product for consumers (B2C), the chances are that your competitors are present in social media. Use their presence for your own advantage and read reviews that users make, try to gather all of their negative comments about the product and look for patterns.
Talk to your users. Gather folks in the room, engage with them on social media, buy them a cup of coffee – doesn’t matter, you have to talk to people who fall into your target audience. They are the best source of insight about particular problems within the niche. User experience designers have to understand both – users’ and business needs.
Key questions to ask in user interviews:
- How your target audience would complete the task A, task B, task C?
- How they would do a particular task in an ideal world if there was a technology to meet any needs they have?
- Are they already using software, mobile app, website, tools to complete these tasks?
- Would they use some tools or products together to solve a problem?
- Can you understand what they like or don’t like about the tools they use?
So the more information you can get about:
How they go around their day? What their motivations are? Why these tasks are important to them? Why completing them in a certain way is important to them? Is it going save them time? Is it going to make them look better? Does their boss require this?
People share this info on social media, Amazon and elsewhere, just Google it.
EXISTING PRODUCT AUDIT
This applies whenever existing products are being updated. First of all, key stakeholders have to give a complete view about the current condition of the company with relation to the product. Then existing product users have to be asked questions that would help to identify their views towards the product.
Key questions to ask stakeholders:
- What is good about it, what is bad about it?
- How is it benefitting the organisation or damaging it?
- Who does this product compete against the competitor product?
- Does the product doing well or it is already losing?
- What’s happening with regard to the competition?
- How far ahead or behind are we in relation to the competition?
Key questions to ask existing product users:
- What existing product users think it could be better about the product?
- Could the product solve more problems or have features that would deliver more value to the user?
- How the product could help users to do tasks more efficiently and save them more time?
Anything can be a good question, just do research and provoke people to speak loud what they think about the product.
ANALYSE AND REVIEW
When research starts, reading back what has been collected will bring patterns. In multiple instances will be seen, that people are saying the same thing, asking for the same things, complaining about the same thing. To successfully develop or upgrade the product, you want to take note of these things. It will serve as a roadmap deciding what feature set the product will have and you will find the scope for what you’re doing.
TALKING TO STAKEHOLDERS ABOUT PRODUCT AND BUSINESS
In this part of the post you will learn how to ask your stakeholders and users more important questions.
Key questions to ask stakeholders:
- What should the product accomplish for the business? (increase sales leads, make people aware that certain products exist, sell more things?)
- Who are the users? (Who we are talking to, where do they live, who are the people we traditionally spoken to, marketed to. Are they the same people?)
- How does the project fits with the overall business strategy? How does this particular piece fits into the grand scheme of things? Other objectives initiatives that are happening that might affect this product?
- How do you expect to differentiate this product? There is always a competition, how you’re going to stand out from the competition? Internet gave us the access to the whole world, so doesn’t matter where all your competitors are they’re at your doorstep. What’s going to be different about this product? Why it’s not just a product that everybody else is making? Why are you so special? – That’s what we want to uncover.
- What technology decisions have already been made? Who is in charge of the technology decisions that get made? Does our technology have to be compatible with anything else that exists now?
- Why do customers would use a product like this one? Reexamine the preconceptions. Let them step back.
- If people use competitors product instead of ours? What’s the reason? If a company is beat by the competitor, they usually know why.
- What things do customers complain about or ask about most often? If the client has a help center – talk to those people. What they’re dealing with? What problems do people have every day. They will tell you what not to do and to change.
BEING CLEAR ABOUT THE USER NEEDS
So once we know what the business goals are for the product, now we want to know what people want from it. What are the user needs? What are they after? What is the value provided for them?
User experience is about creating the value loop. You create the value for your customers and the value will come back to you. Value out, value back in.
Key questions to ask B2B customers:
B2B (Business to business) people work in other companies. One business might be selling a product to the other business.
- Tell me about your background and your role in this company?
- What makes a good workday for you? At the end of the day what makes you feel that you had a great day, that you were productive, that you accomplished things?
- How does the function or the process addressed by the product works in your company currently? How do you go around doing your day to day tasks addressed by our product daily? Walk me through that process. What are different groups and people are involved in the process? How many and what people are involved in the process?
- How does this compare to the previous companies you worked with? Ask people if they have experiences to the same function or process that the product is addressing? – Capture what these things are.
- What are the biggest problems or inefficiencies in this process/function today? What are the things that grind productivity to halt? What problems this cause?
- What are the biggest problems you have with this product? Ask as many people as possible, what are the problems they are facing with product. You will get a lot of ideas.
- What are the other systems that work with this one? None of the apps exist in vacuum
Key questions to ask B2C customers:
Business is selling directly to consumers, private people. Questions for them are different because we don’t ask about their work environment.
- Tell me what makes a good (shopping, playing, watching, listening) experience? What makes you happy about it?
- What things you’d usually do first and then why? An open ended question.
- What would you put off as long as you can and why? What is of these things that you have to deal with anyway but really not looking forward to? The very last step?
- What things here waste your time? In example: Why I have to give you my surname again? Why I have to give you my address if I already gave it last time when I purchased something? How come you don’t know it from the last time?
- How often do you use this product? Frequency of use? Core of the daily reality or just occasional visit?
- What do you use it for most often? It may not be what you expect. maybe there are other ways of how the product is used?
- Could you show me how you do that? How people say they do is not often exactly what they do. See and observe actual action.
- What things do you use before, during, or after this product? Maybe they contain features, or tools that your product doesn’t have. This is a critical point of identification.
- How would you compare these products that you’ve used? How does this stackup with ones you used previously? What are the top 3 sites / apps / things, that you use on a regular basis? Could this become part of your daily routine?)
WHAT’S WORTH DOING
Now that we understand business and user needs, we have to understand what is important. Based on what we know, what clients told us, customers told us, and our own views. What’s worth our time and our effort?
Ranking the features in terms of importance and feasibility or viability will help to filter the most important features that have to go to the product. List all the features what’s feasible over given time, budget allocated and the resources available, and rank them on scale from 1 to 10 in terms of importance and viability. The higher the score (maximum 20) will be for the feature, it should be first in your product backlog.
WHAT ARE WE CREATING?
Different groups of people have to understand the project in the same way.
Talk to stakeholders, project managers, developers – is everybody on the same page? This has to be entirely clear among all of the groups. It should be clear by now, because there have been a lot of questions asked about this.