Picture this: you have spent countless hours designing your UX study, finding the right candidates, interviewing them or reviewing their interviews; you’re done analysing your data, you’ve generated awesome insights and you think you’re that close to a breakthrough that may improve your company’s solution.
Naturally, you decide to make a report and share your findings to all relevant stakeholders, only to realize that your work gets lukewarm to no attention, uninformed decisions get made, and your findings have no impact on your users.
This is probably the most frustrating – and frustratingly common – situation UX researchers may find themselves in. Yet, effective insights sharing, possibly one of the most important elements of UX research, is sometimes one of the most overlooked.
So how to share UX research findings effectively with stakeholders? The reality is UX researchers do not have a one-size-fits-all solution to make their findings always actionable and impactful. However, by following these tips and tricks below, you can reliably make your findings more digestible and engaging, and increase your chances to guide informed decisions.
Before diving into your report, take a step back and think: “Who am I gonna share these findings with?”. Your stakeholders have different needs and use different vocabularies; thus you need different prompts to grasp their attention.
Consequently, you should focus on and spin your insights according to whom you’re going to share these. Let’s use the prototyping of a new checkout page as an example: a team of UX designers may be interested in the look-and-feel of the page, whereas IT and Product Managers may be more concerned with its performance and speed.
The way people prefer to go through your research also matters: while some crave flashy presentations, others might want to sit down and read through your analysis – and you’ve got to take into account that as well.
Fun fact: not everyone will read your research in full. You have only limited time to prove your findings, and you want these to be direct and impactful from the get-go. A good rule of thumb when presenting research is always to list your findings first, and delve into the description later on.
Additionally, you want your findings to be clearly understandable by everyone. Having spent hours neck-deep in your study, you might find it tempting to use jargon, sentence structure and phrases that are obscure to most; you need to refrain from doing just that. Flesh out jargon or acronyms, explain the meaning of things that have the slightest hint of complexity and check the readability of your text. You want to keep concepts as simple as possible at first; you can add more layers of complexity as you or the stakeholder keeps digging deeper into your research.
As UXers, you might be asked to substantiate your qualitative research with quantitative data: stakeholders might inquire over the number of participants agreeing to a specific statement, or might ask you to turn quotes and observations into metrics. While adding some data may provide more context to your study, overusing them may tarnish its quality.
Indeed, applying a quantitative mindset to qualitative research will be nowhere near as powerful as in quantitative research. Therefore, you need to break away from this mindset and leverage the strong points of your qualitative study – your users and their feedback.
Being the owner of your research, you have spent a great deal of time listening to your users’ interviews, observing their reactions and spotting study themes. You know that your findings are as good as the answers your users have given you: so why not bring your users to the forefront and make them the centrepiece of your findings?
Show highlight reels or individual videos of your users and have them share emotional cues with your stakeholders. If one picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much information a 30-second video can convey. Furthermore, it’ll be much easier for your stakeholders to understand the reasoning behind your insights, and for you to kick off deeper and more meaningful discussions with them.
If on the one hand, you should make your users take the forefront, you should also give room to your stakeholders to express their opinions. Here, you need to embrace your UX evangelism: invite your stakeholders to participate in the conversation and let them add their own insights! Nothing is more satisfying than discovering something new by yourself, so by giving room to the stakeholders you’ll get their undivided attention as well as a flow of fresh takes on your study.
At the same time, you want to remove yourself from the picture as much as possible. You need to convince your stakeholders they can also have a say in and enrich UX thanks to their different perspectives. Therefore, you can steer the conversation in a productive way, but you shouldn’t interfere and criticise other people’s ideas to defend your own.
Lastly, you don’t want to limit your research to a one-off presentation or report sesh. Rather, you’d like your findings to be readily available and easy to access and circulate across your organisation. You’d want to give access to other key stakeholders and make them play with your findings, edit and rearrange insights and revisit individual interviews. In short, you want them to be part of the research process.
And one great platform to do this is Sonar! In it, you can share individual insights or whole studies to as many users as you want. Grant them access and make your research circulate in a digestible, interactive and engaging way: from dynamic insights boards linked to videos, insight and interviewees metrics to individual quotes and observations, you can leverage the full power of qualitative research and turn your findings into informed decisions.
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