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Lessons from a Cellist (or, what product people can learn from user research)


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This talk explores the journey of the Duolingo Stories product journey. With a team under pressure to produce results and an organizational culture that prizes rigorous AB testing, we'll explore how qualitative user research became part of our product development process, how it helped us build a product roadmap, and what we've learned along the way.

Published in: Technology
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Lessons from a Cellist (or, what product people can learn from user research)

  1. 1. October 7, 2019 Lessons From A Cellist (Or, what product people can learn from user research)
  2. 2. Conor Walsh (me!) Senior PM @ Duolingo The Problem Our Process Learnings Agenda
  3. 3. The Problem
  4. 4. Stories Usage: Jan-Aug ‘18
  5. 5. Duolingo Stories
  6. 6. Bigger than DAUs Challenges - Declining usage - Flat or declining D1, D7, D14 retention rates - Legacy of past experiments - Lack of direction - Resource constraints - Testing culture - Management concerns and pressure
  7. 7. Our Process
  8. 8. The Plan of Attack User interviews Usability testing Identify key pain points Prioritize and execute
  9. 9. - Active + Churned - All Courses - Open-ended interviews - Validate User Interviews
  10. 10. Let your users teach you!
  11. 11. “Duolingo is like practicing scales; Stories is like sight reading” Insight: - Amy Domingues, Stories User
  12. 12. Pain Point Impact Stories content doesn’t connect with a course High Hard to use Stories on your phone High Stories don’t match ability High Users can’t practice the words they’ve learned Medium - High Users don’t realize there are hints Medium Users don’t realize how long a story is Medium Stories not engaging Medium Hard to revisit or review a story Medium Users can’t participate in a story Medium
  13. 13. So many changes! ● Stories on mobile ● New onboarding ● Content gating ● Listen-only mode ● Review mode ● Course-aligned stories ● A1 and A2 stories Product Changes Content Changes
  14. 14. Stories Usage: Aug ‘18 - Sep ‘19
  15. 15. Stories Usage: Jan-Aug ‘18
  16. 16. Stories Usage: Jan ‘18 - Sep ‘19
  17. 17. Stories Usage: Jan ‘18 - Sep ‘19
  18. 18. Learnings
  19. 19. The TL;DR Invest in understanding your users Understand your ah-ha moment Prioritize ruthlessly and realistically AB tests are only as good as your product sense
  20. 20. Questions?