When a UX researcher’s job is done well, you don’t even notice it. Yet every part of your experience is designed and deliberate — and companies like Planday put great effort into collaborating to ensure our look and feel is just right. The Planday Blog caught up with UX Researcher Andreas Bech Thøgersen to hear how he and his team take the time to get the little things right.
“Design is not about creating things. It’s about making decisions to solve problems.”
“The key part of our Planday approach is empathy — understanding what the customer’s needs are and designing our product to help make their lives simpler and easier with better software,” Andreas says.
Andreas recently led a Planday ProductTank, showcasing the importance of his research in design — a new concept among Danish tech companies.
The ProductTank was also a chance for Copenhagen’s thriving tech company scene to network and share ideas.
“There was pizza and beers and people just hung out. People actually stayed a really long time! The event started at 5:30pm and should have ended at 7:30pm, but the last ones left at 8:50 — so I think that’s a good sign,” Andreas says.
“It was very interesting hearing how others work because there are some places which are only just starting to use UX research. I talked to two guys from one company who have started using UX research in their company but it is still in its initial phase of trying to implement it, so it is great to chat with them and hear how they do it.”
“I think people know what UX design is but I think UX research is still a new field in Denmark,” Andreas says.
“I presented the approach — what we are doing, the different steps that we do every time, why this is important — and then I gave them an example of a case study we did here at Planday. I showed them the pros and cons of doing customer research when you’re building a new feature.”
Drawing more than 50 people to Planday’s Copenhagen headquarters, Andreas’ presentation explored how understanding your users and their needs throughout the design process helps Planday build a better product.
Andreas believes good design and research relies on one key element — empathy. Creating empathy in the UX process needs three things to make it work properly:
Assumptions of what your customers want and need are good, but substantiated insights are best. Insights are what your product should be build with.
You need to understand what the customer needs and what pain points they have. Be broad — but make sure you are still focused on the overall problem.
This helps your direction and allows you to focus — guided by what the user needs and how our product can help address that.
Putting this together, Andreas says it helps Planday create a continuous feedback loop which informs the company’s product development and planning, ensuring customers’ needs are at the forefront of what the company is trying to achieve.
“I talked about why it is important to keep customers close when you are building a new product or a new feature. I made a run-down of how we used to do it and what we are doing now — or what we are trying to do. We are still learning a lot!” Andreas tells the Planday Blog.
As the key to get good UX and UI in a tech company, Andreas says the key is curiosity.
“I think if you are not a part of UX yet, I think you should just reach out to people — maybe you know someone who is in UX. Or you have a friend that has a UX team. Ask them if they can get you along to a presentation or something for one of the UXs,” Andreas says.
Ask them what their job is about. Be curious, I guess. That is the main word — UX is about being curious. Because if you are not curious anymore, you won’t evolve. And your product won’t evolve.”
“And that’s also how you work — you need to ask questions. And don’t be afraid. You can read a lot of articles but they can be a bit boring. You want to actually get out there and just do it. You don’t just want to sit there everyday and work with things; you want to watch them and learn.”
“In order to make the product better, we need to take the curiosity and have some concrete steps to make it work. We now have some very clear steps to take this feedback on board and help us build a better product.”
Here are some steps to get you started:
- Identify the overall problem
- Create a stakeholder map
- Hold internal interviews
- Form a hypothesis — how can we solve this problem?
- Write a guide for interviews
- Hold many interviews with end users
- Outline key findings
The most important lesson of this process, Andreas says, is to learn from your mistakes.
“When things don’t turn out as expected, you learn. In order to keep on top of the market, we need to always remember that we are not the experts, our customers are. Sometimes that means we have to accept that assumptions within the industry might be wrong, but that can be a good thing and help our company grow and create a better product.”
To learn more about how Planday’s UX research and design works for you, register for your demo here.