Customer Research & Persona Development


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A guide to Lean UX (User Experience) customer research, persona development, and how to be sensitive to cognitive biases.

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Customer Research & Persona Development

  1. 1. Customer Research &Persona Development Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  2. 2. “Life is too short to design & build something that no one wants” - Ash Maurya LEAN USER EXPERIENCEWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  3. 3. Mantra: You are not the user.Only through research can we uncover people’s pain, needs, and goals, in context.Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  4. 4. Why Customer Research? “Insights about your customers or users were never discovered sitting at your fucking couch”. - meWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  5. 5. Malkovich BiasThe tendency to believe that everyone uses technology the same way you do.Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  6. 6. Personas, WTF?• Personas are an archetype of your actual, validated customers based on research• Personas are not a sheet of paper• (Just) making personas up is useless• BUT – creating persona hypotheses gets the ball moving… to do research Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  7. 7. “Personas are to Persona Descriptions as Vacations are to Photo Albums”Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  8. 8. My bullshit customer insights graph People 0 InsightsWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  9. 9. My bullshit customer insights graph 12 People The most striking truth of this curve is that zero users give zero insights 0 Insights Lot sWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  10. 10. “Your responsibility is to step out of your own perspective, to really exercise empathy and completely immerse yourselves in the point of view, and the psychological state, of the person your hoping to design a solution for” - meWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  11. 11. Lean Principles • Context First • Hypotheses, Not Requirements • Opinions = Guesses • Visualize your work • Validate customer needs • Reduce cycle times • Last responsible momentWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  12. 12. Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  13. 13. HOW TO DO ITWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  14. 14. Before Interviews • Identify who you interviewing • Articulate customer hypotheses • Craft a topic map for your sessions • Write down your promptsWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  15. 15. 9 Keys to Customer Research 1. One at a time 2. Always pair interview (if you can) 3. Introduce yourself 4. Record the conversation 5. Ask general, open ended questions to get people to open up 6. Ask questions around the problem space “Do you often encounter a problem like X? 7. Then ask: “Tell me about it…” 8. Listen more than talk 9. Separate behavior from narrativeWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  16. 16. Guidelines • It’s about empathizing. Listen, even when people go off topic • Context is King – document it, and make sure the context of research maps to that of problem space • Start from the assumption that everything you know is wrongWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  17. 17. You need to gather: • Factual information • Behavior • Pain points • Goals You can document this on the persona validation board As well as… Photos, video, audio, journals…document everythingWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  18. 18. During the interview DO Take notes Smile Ask open-ended Don’t questions Talk about your product Get their story Ask about future behavior Shut up and listen Sell Ask leading questions Talk muchWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  19. 19. Ways to start • Tell me about … • How so … • What are your thoughts on … • Could you elaborate on … • Give some examples of … • What are your thoughts on … • Tell me the last time you …Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  20. 20. Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  21. 21. Caveat Qualitative research cannot be used to unequivocally prove or disprove a hypothesis about the customer or solution.Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  22. 22. Analysis “We tend to project our own rationalizations and beliefs onto the actions and beliefs of others” - Don Norman So… be weary of these…Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  23. 23. 5 Common Biases in Customer Research • Confirmation Bias • Framing Effect • Observer-expectancy Effect • Recency Bias • False ConsensusWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  24. 24. Confirmation Bias Your tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms your preconceptions or hypotheses.Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  25. 25. Framing Effect When you and your team draw different conclusions from the same data based on your own preconceptions.Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  26. 26. Observer-expectancy When you expect a given result from your research which makes you unconsciously manipulate your experiments to give you that resultWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  27. 27. Recency Bias This results from disproportionate salience attributed to recent observations (your very last interview) – or the tendency to weigh more recent information over earlier observationsWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  28. 28. Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  29. 29. False Consensus The tendency for you to overestimate the degree to which others agree with you.Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  30. 30. Analysis • Single customer storyboarding, and then… • Multiple customer analysis – Write all insights on post-its – Affinity map into facts, behaviors, needs, goals – Identify types of potential customers – Name them – Fill out the persona validation boardWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  31. 31. What next? The point of the research is to seek insight into user behavior, goals, and needs that might be supported by the design of a product or service. so…Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  32. 32. Demand Creation • How will your customer segments hear about your product? • How does market type impact your strategy? • How much will it cost to acquire customers using these strategies • What does the lifetime customer value need to be to justify these strategies?Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  33. 33. Enough Theory! “Insights about your customers or users were never discovered sitting at your fucking desk”. - meWill Evans | @SemanticWill
  34. 34. Will Evans | @SemanticWill
  35. 35. Thanks!Will Evans | @SemanticWill
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