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Andy Wilby

Part 2: Understanding the needs of the customer

A true customer-centric process is about understanding key user needs, creating a solution to meet these and then validating the designs to ensure they're successful. This post looks at methods of gathering customer feedback and how this will shape your design. The validation phase is where we start to gather direct feedback from the personas identified during research, to ensure it meets the needs of the targeted users. If the service doesn't meet the user needs, it will fail. The sooner we identify this, then the quicker and cheaper it is to improve the solution.

There are two main feedback types within the validation phase:
Quantitative and Qualitative.

Quantitative is about capturing the 'what', the stats and relates to gathering a large number of responses from a particular persona type (ideally 100+) so we can identify clear trends about user behaviours and if a task completion was successful or not.

Qualitative is about capturing the 'why', and relates to gathering a smaller number of responses for a particular persona type (typically 5-10) so we can understand (through conversations) why they failed to/struggled to/successfully completed a task.

We're not believers in gathering feedback on half-baked ideas or rough sketches because this can lead to unreliable results. Of course, we want to fail fast and gain insight quickly, but we also need to fail smart and follow the right procedures to understand success and deliver confidence that the design direction is the right one.

"Forrester estimates that for every $1 to fix a problem during design, it would cost $5 to fix the same problem during development. Even worse, if a problem is not spotted until after release that price rockets to $30."

However, failing smart doesn't mean we should spend months perfecting the wireframe solution before being put in-front of users. It requires a fine balance, a clear understanding of embedding customer-centric disciplines into an Agile process and knowing exactly what validation techniques to use (and when to use them). We've mastered these traits though years of expertise in creating engaging, intuitive and relevant solutions for the retail, finance and health sectors within Agile only methodologies.

Next week: Part 3, and how we can prove success...

In case you missed it, here is the 1st installment of lifting the lid on UX Practices Part 1: The role of a UX designer.

And here is the 3rd installment Part 3: Measuring success through quantitative insights.

Recent outcomes delivered for our retail clients...

Our senior retail team

Read about Rich
Rich heads Answer Digital Retail, delivering world class solutions to clients including Costcutter Supermarkets Group, FCUK, Arcadia and Ramsden International. Richard has a passion for retail and the transformational impact technology is having on customer experiences.
Read about Jon
Prior to joining us, Jon worked as a consultant with the government, but left to be in a more agile environment. He says Answer Digital provides exactly that.
Read about John
John is a Senior Consultant and has been with Answer Digital for just over 2 years having spent many years building bespoke software solutions. He is currently working in the retail sector as technical lead across a number of projects.