5 Simple Steps to Spin UX Research Insights Into Actionable Product Design Opportunities

By Thomas DiNatale
November 12, 2021

The UX research findings are in! After hours of surveys, interviews, and session analysis, those painstakingly gathered user insights are now sitting pretty in a neatly compiled deck. But as the echoes of high-fives bounce through the office, a sobering question murmurs beneath the cheers: What’s next?

Research findings are a paradox: incredibly illuminating yet, oftentimes, utterly void of clear next steps. You may have uncovered the motivations and behaviors behind your customers’ actions. But what do you do with that? You may have discovered why so many users aren’t converting at a critical moment. But how do you fix that?

The answers to these looming questions — the actionable steps you can take to improve your product’s user experience — are out there. It’s just a matter of organizing findings, identifying quick wins, transforming insights into needs, defining metrics, and collaboratively prioritizing the more complex UX work. It’s less challenging than you think. Here are the key steps to get you started.

Step 1: Organize Your UX Research Findings Into Two Groups

That proverbial pile of insights isn’t going to organize itself; it’s not going to morph into product design solutions or user experience enhancements. It’s up to you and your team to take each insight and put it into its proper place so it can be made sense of later.

To do this means looking at each insight individually and asking: Can we address this in the short term? Or do we need more time to think about this?

Complete with voices from your team, gather your findings. Then separate them into two groups:

Group A: Quick win opportunities you can take action on now
Group B: Findings that need deeper discussion and exploration

Photograph of insights generated from a UX research project.

Your Group A finding will be made up of insights that are lighter lift changes. These are going to be the straightforward, knock-’em-out improvements that are hardly debatable and wholly enriching to the user experience.

And, your Group B will be made up of inherently more challenging experience problems. These insights will be trickier to tackle quickly because they’ll require more complex UX design solutions and potentially broader stakeholder support. But more on that later.

Step 2: Prioritize the Straightforward Product Design Opportunities First

Once you’ve separated your findings into two groups, it’s time to get to work with Group A. These quick enhancements lead to quick wins. And quick wins turn into morale boosters that result in happier, more productive teams. Especially when the quick wins are rooted in real customer needs rather than unchallenged team assumptions.

These easier enhancements typically fall into the usability and minor user experience improvements categories — simple design solutions that will improve the overall UX.

For example, your insights may tell you customer’s are experiencing confusion in the onboarding flow; at a certain point, it could be clearer with additional directional copy or by adjusting where a button sits. On their own these issues seem minor. But don’t be fooled. They can compound quickly and impact your overall user experience. Ever heard of “death by a thousand paper cuts”? You get the picture.

Getting the ball rolling on these minor fixes is a big first step toward improving your product. Not only that, but it’s a shot in the arm for your team and crosses things off everyone’s to-do list at the same time.

Step 3: Dive Into UX Research Insights That Require Deeper Thinking and Discussion With User Need Statements

With the small stuff out of the way, it’s time to face the more challenging group of insights. You can do this by breaking down each Group B finding into user need statements.

These statements are rooted in your customers’ pain points and focus on their ultimate goal with your product. Remember, it’s not the time to define or design a solution. These statements are intended to help align the team around what the user wants to achieve with your product. 

Your statement should have three elements:

  • A description of the customer
  • Their need or pain point with the product
  • Their goal for using the product

The description of the customer should be rooted in real customer research. We don’t want to assign a need statement to a broad marketing demographic. For example, a statement for a subscription food service might read as follows: “Jasmin, a health-conscious 42-year-old, needs a way to easily compare our food’s nutrition facts in order to feel confident about making healthier choices for her family.”

A user need statement format and examples laid out in columns.

With a cross-functional team quickly capture your user, their needs and goals on a whiteboard.

This sample statement defines the need for health-conscious customers to compare nutritional facts to quickly make healthy choices for themselves and those they feed. It does not prescribe a solution about how Jasmin might find nutrition facts in her experience with the product. We’ll get to solutions later during a team sketching session.

Step 4: Specify Successful Outcome Metrics for Your User Need Statements

An actionable opportunity is nothing without a metric to measure its success. So, after shaping your Group B findings into user need statements, it’s time to identify your successful outcome metrics.

Success metrics allow your design team to measure the effectiveness of new user experiences. Pretty essential, right? A successful design solution solves the customer pain points and improves product performance simultaneously.

Using the previous example of Jasmin, the health-conscious shopper who wants to compare nutrition facts, the success metrics would be tied to her goal of feeling confident that the food she purchases is a healthy choice for her family. Success metrics could look like:

  • Nutrition facts view rate
  • Conversion rate for shoppers who view nutrition facts
  • Average time spent viewing nutrition facts

Successful outcome metrics depend entirely on your product offering and what your team considers a win or loss. Short-term metrics should always support long-term business goals.

Examples of product opportunity cards. These include a customer avatar, user need statement and success metrics.

Two examples of product opportunity cards. These cards include a customer description, user need statement and success metrics.

Now, add your successful outcome metrics on the same notecard as each user need statement. This way, all salient information is tied together in one place. Consider this your product opportunity card and hold on to it for the next step.

Step 5: Bring the Team Together, Form a Consensus, and Prioritize Product Design Opportunities

The hardest part is almost over. Now it’s time to bring your team together to get everyone on the same page and choose which product opportunities to prioritize.

And we mean everyone: Product managers. Designers. Marketing. Engineering. Customer experience. Every team has a unique voice and perspective that matters.

To kick things off, pin your product opportunity cards so everyone can see them. Walk your team through each user need and how success will be measured.

Let people ask candid questions, and be open to making adjustments as needed. Be open to dialogue; with so many teams and voices represented there’s bound to be some disagreements or confusion. But allowing for discussions can surface real a-ha! moments that change the course of what’s prioritized and when.

After walking your team through all the product opportunity cards, give each team member five stickers to vote on the opportunities that have the biggest potential impact on your product.

With your product design possibilities all prioritized, your next rhetorical now what? is what kicks off your design ideation. Happy sketching!

Make Decisions Grounded in UX Research Findings & Design Better Products

Everyday Industries is a UX strategy and digital product design firm. Our comprehensive approach to UX and product design is based on gaining a deep understanding of your customers through research, analyzing your business goals, and designing experiences tailored specifically to your needs. We don’t follow a one-size-fits-all formula.

From concept to launch, we partner with you each step of the way to design, iterate, and optimize digital products and services that delight your customers. We would love to learn more about your business and collaborate to create digital experiences that captivate and convert. 

Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation. Let’s work together to take your product from idea to reality and achieve your business growth goals.