Product & Design

Don't ask what people want - lessons on product discovery

1010: Building from scratch

27. 10. 2022

If I would ask people what they want, they would have said a faster horse’ by H. Ford is often used to dissuade product discovery. What if all he wanted to say is: ‘Ask better questions’? How can we do actionable and timely research within our budgets?

Talk recap

This talk was automagically recapped with help of Wordsmith AI.
Subjected to paraphrasing and mirror errors.

Our apologies: due to technical difficulties with our audio stream, we unfortunately couldn't restore most of this session. However we leave you with Amadeas closing remarks to get you started on asking great questions.

  • Amadea suggests that we start our product journey by writing down everything we know about our product, about the problem we're solving, about the users, all the leads on who will use our product. Mark down diligently, which of those are assumptions. Because assumptions are the mother of all mistakes.
  • Writing down your assumptions is crucial and important to not skip during your ideation process. After you're done, make sure to prioritize these assumptions by opportunity. So look at your list and see where the biggest opportunity lie. Start your work on preparing questions on the area that you maybe don't quite know, but an area with a lot of potential. And based on that prepare great questions that will lead your investigation. .
  • Once you do all of this, then you design the experiments around those important questions. Experiments is just another word for research. After writing down our experiments, we can start trying to answer our questions with A/B testing or other qualifying tests. We can do all kinds of stuff where we measure user experience, where we gather data, and we call it experiments.
  • Every experiment, every test, every single great product out there started with a great question. Because great questions leads to great answers. And those lead to great products. Whereas bad questions, lead to useless answers, wasted time and resources. Ask great questions and let's make questions great again.
    Amedea Derenda Mujezinović ScreenSaverz8+ years experience in user experience design, digital transformation, and design thinking facilitation, with a focus on designing enterprise applications. Specializing in B2B and B2B2C products. Worked with startups (MESI, Klevio), big companies (Triglav, Krka), and public services (MZZ, SVRK).

    This talk was powered by

    BTC City Ljubljana

    Audience questions for Amedea

    These questions were asked by the attending audience of about 180 participants on 27. 10. 2022 at Maximize your next knowledge experience by attending our event in-person.

    What was the worst assumption you made in your career?
    When I was a very young designer I started working with ahealthcare company to create electronic records of patient data. My assumption was that everybody knows what two factor authentication is. So once we’ve put two factor authentication in aboutsix, seven years ago the end users mostly had no idea what that is. especially not doctors. So as we’ve decided to put it into the app, we had a major problem as no users could get in the app and use it. So that was great lesson.
    Do you think companies and CEOs believe more qualitative interviews and research?
    The answer is the second one, they believe data more because they think it's impartial. Which is not true. And it also answers to questions that we pose, and data can be very easily manipulated, if we wanted to. And that's actually a shame. And it's something that I would like to change is to give more focus also on the qualitative side, because there's where all the juicy stuff lies. And somehow, we're not happy with the juicy stuff. But that's what makes our product this. That's what make the user experience. And I wish, I really wish that we could do more of this, because it's very important. As I said, it's the cheapest and fastest way to get information from users
    How much attention or worry do you put into the validity of the research that you do?
    The most important part of research is knowing your users. In order to do that, you have to make sure you find the right user, or at least a very similar to them. Or people who know about it. So in b2b apps and in Enterprise UX, we sometimes deal with people that we don't have access to. And they're always they're always proxies. And you go into that research knowing that this is not the person that you really, really want. But you get more information, especially in the beginning when you don't have any other data then not doing that at all.
    How important is it to get the right, the right kind of conversation going with the right kind of users?
    The first thing to know is that you're not going to get everything right the first time. You have a vision for your product, and you want to make it happen. But when it comes down to actually making that happen, there are going to be things that come up along the way that you didn't anticipate. The important thing is not to let those things stop you from moving forward. And what we're looking for, is, in this conversation, I said, we're looking for behaviours, we're looking for patterns, and we're looking for similar behaviours. And we're looking how we can make different groups of users. And many times during research, you realise there's a group that you have not think of, and that there is an opportunity there or you. But that is very important to be mindful of that—so you have to know that you're stepping into research that might not produce results. But if you have no idea who your user are is—who your users potential users are—then of course, you have to go wide.
    What would be your tips in establishing research practice within the company?
    There are a few things that you can do to get buy in for your research. First, be very annoying about research, product discovery. If they don't, like, if you try to present if you try to get buy in from, from management, and they don't let you go gorilla, go showed them what you can get from qualitative research. Because it's the insights and things that we find are those that change minds. For people who have never experienced well done research, you will not convince them just by saying Hey I think user interviews would be great. But you do them on the site, sometimes even outside your daily work, bring back the insights tell them what are the results show them. And it might get easier depending on depending on a company size.
    Are there differences in an early stage company versus larger established companies when it comes to research?
    I think it's really important to know when you're ready for user testing. And it might get easier depending on depending on a company size. So you might be already if you're in a later stage, or you have your product is already out. Yes, you can always start with data. Data is also useful. Start with Google Analytics, but then go and talk to people who use your product, figure out why. I don't know. I just it's the one thing that somehow, like I said, got a bad rap. It is very, very useful, and very, very impactful. But we need to show the results. So that would be my quick answer. I do have a longer one store later.
    What was the best question that you have ever asked? And what is the answer that you've received?
    If I were talking to a stakeholder, for example, I would ask them whether they were most afraid of this project in terms of what? For example, if I were talking to the user, one of the things that might come up is: "So can you tell me about a really good experience of using either our product or a product that's similar to ours?" Or how are you solving this problem now that we're looking for design? But I can't tell you the answers because they're very different.