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May 07, 2024

4 Strategies to Elevate User Experience Through User Feedback

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Written by

Thelma Van

UX Xpert

Chelsea Holzer

UI/UX Designer

Good products are often the result of a good feedback loop. This means product teams are continually validating their assumptions with real users and iterating on the product itself – a process that can be challenging but ultimately rewarding. Sometimes these challenges occur when users struggle to articulate their needs clearly, creating disconnects between what they say they want and what they truly need. Other times it’s because product teams misinterpreted the needs or made incorrect assumptions. That’s why it’s crucial for product teams to validate their assumptions and make changes to the product through user feedback.

Disaster can strike when teams fail to validate their assumptions and designs with actual users. The consequences range from deploying underutilized or unused features, creating bad user experiences and frustrated users, to wasted development efforts and resources. All costly errors to rectify. On top of that, the company’s reputation could suffer. Hence, product teams must embrace the idea of “continually validating and iterating”, the fourth principle of Human-Centered Design (HCD), as a cornerstone for designing exceptional user experiences. This principle serves as a strategic guide, helping teams align the product, service, or solution seamlessly with user needs and desires.

Validating and Iterating with User Feedback

Validation and iteration form the bedrock of user-centric design, offering a crucial feedback loop between product teams and end-users. It’s not merely about testing design elements or interface usability; it’s a holistic approach to ensure the product or service is not only usable but also genuinely beneficial.

The validation and iteration process is a reality check – a way to confirm that your product or service resonates with users. Product teams, no matter how skilled, can only go so far without external feedback from the people actually using the product or service. Continuous validation helps identify if the product is useful, provides a positive experience, and effectively solves the intended problem. It’s a compass that keeps the team on the right track, ensuring they are creating something meaningful and impactful.

Here are 4 powerful methods to gather and leverage users feedback.

#1: Conduct User Interviews

Performing user interviews is a great way for product teams to learn more about the users your product is intended for, and to gather feedback. They provide in depth knowledge about your users lives, challenges, needs, and what they value. The insights gathered ultimately are used to inform design decisions, leading to a more useful and beneficial end product. Teams can leverage the information gathered from interviews throughout the design process to ensure the product or features aligns with what users truly need.

Here are 5 Tips for Conducting User Interviews.

#2: Survey Users

User surveys can be a valuable tool for product teams to quantitively measure the attitude users have about their product. Data can be quickly collected and aggregated and can be sourced from a large pool of users. Survey questions are typically in the form of multiple choice or on a rated-scale and therefore easy to answer. Teams can leverage statistics to determine what features are important to users, and which are missing the mark.

#3: Perform Usability Testing

In simplest terms, usability testing refers to the method that verifies whether a product or feature meets the users’ needs and if it is easy to use. Usability testing helps teams identify any potential problems with their product, learn more about their users, and uncover new opportunities to improve the product. Teams can use this method at any point in the development process, not just before deploying the final product. This will help create better prototypes and ultimately a better product upon release. By conducting usability tests with real people, product teams can increase alignment between the product and its users, leading to greater user satisfaction, increased adoption rate, and reduced chance of rework.

Learn how to get started with Usability Testing.

#4: Create Empathy Maps

While usability testing is a good method to check that your team’s on the right track, validation and iteration extend beyond it. One particularly powerful method teams can use is to create an experience map. Experience maps help provide a holistic understanding of the entire end-to-end customer journey by capturing and documenting customer steps, thoughts, emotions, and pain points throughout the interaction lifecycle. It has a wide application and offers insight into the customer experience in granular detail across various touchpoints. Armed with these insights, teams will be better equipped to ask the right questions, compare iterations, and deliver a more impactful solution.

Needless to say, experience maps provide incredible breadth and depth of visibility into the real-world customer experience. However, other methods can also play a pivotal role in validating and iterating. These approaches provide a nuanced understanding of user behavior, preferences, and pain points, contributing to a more comprehensive, human-centered approach to the user experience.

Learn how to build an Empathy Map.

Adapting to Evolving User Needs

The validation and iteration process is not an additional step; it’s a crucial element of a human-centered approach to successful product design. To develop a successful product, service, or solution, teams must invest time to understand the user and identify their challenges. However, user goals and needs evolve over time. Failing to adapt to these changes can result in significant misalignment between the actual product and what the product needs to be.

By validating and iterating early in the design process, teams can refine the solution before investing significant time and resources. This is a critical step before diving into prototyping or deploying a complete product. Continual validation and iteration confirm that the design remains in sync with shifting user goals, preventing potential gaps and streamlines the value to the user.

The Bottom Line

User priorities and goals are constantly evolving, making it highly unrealistic to go directly from design to deploy without any changes in between. The process of validating and iterating allows teams to unearth the user’s unique challenges and provides the flexibility necessary to adapt to changing needs and goals. This also forces product teams to step beyond their own perspectives and assumptions to deliver a useful, impactful product. By approaching a product or solution with Human-Centered Design principles in mind, we can deliver truly exceptional user experiences.

Need some help getting started with HCD?

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Thelma Van

UX Xpert

Follow Thelma on LinkedIn

Chelsea Holzer

UI/UX Designer

Follow Chelsea on LinkedIn

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