Increasing Insight Value for a UX Team
As a participant observer, I was able to analyze communication channels, tools, goals, meeting structures and other artifacts that helped me to create an ecosystem map.
With this map, as well as contextual inquiry that occurred during meetings and conversations, I got a valuable sample of how project documents were created, shared and referenced, as well as how goals were communicated and new methods were taught.
Ecosystem Map from Contextual Analysis
Steps for Project
Understanding the Context of How Data is Shared, Stored and Found
Considering 5 UX repository products & how they organize information
Interviewed 4 team members to understand data storage difficulties
Created a questionnaire & had team prioritize pain points and next steps
UX research is valuable. However, the artifacts, analysis & insights that shape innovation are sometimes lost...
...After a project is completed. This can lead to redundant research or under-utilized reports, which is costly. Repositories and formalized structures for data are therefore important, but the return on investment is sometimes hard to see and hard to sell.
My project focused on an UX research department and their knowledge management processes. Joining a team using the complex Jobs-to-be-done method, I used contextual inquiry, discovery interviews and other research to investigate how to improve their data storage and collaboration. Referencing theories like the Diffusion of Innovation, I considered the benefits of certain changes and the risks of inaction, and created a pain point questionnaire where team members could score the process issues they wanted to ideate on, in a prioritized way.
PROJECT & TIMELINE
Working with Sentier Strategic Resources
February 2021-April 2021
Project Manager: Eric Norquist
HOW MIGHT WE...
Reduce redundant research and preparation steps?
Help new researchers find insights and valuable reports from past projects?
Improve stakeholder’s access to insights and reports, during a project & after it is completed?
In order to frame the agency's current process to a formalized repository, I compared five UX repository platforms. From this research I gained important information on what could be done in a repository, and was able to show stakeholders how their mixture of tools were filling some (but not all) of the desired outcomes in an ad hoc way.
The next step was considering how the current process could be made more streamlined and efficient.
Interviewing four members of the research team, I was able to collect pain points found in the current data collection and storage process. Some were as simple as needing to ask for assistance when locating certain documents, while others were complex issues that took time and effort to work around.
After affinity diagramming these pain points with those that arose during the contextual inquiry, I had a list of 30+ process issues that could be addressed.
Participant Pain Points
Scoring Severity of Pain Points
With this list of pain points I created a questionnaire for the team to fill out. Some issues are more severe for junior researchers, others more impactful for senior researchers, or contracted researchers. For this reason, the questionnaire was a valuable tool in pin pointing what issues should be addressed first, based on the average team scores.
From these questionnaires, the team had a prioritized list of issues for the next step of ideating solutions.
Next Steps & Conclusion
Knowledge management is not a flashy delighter, rather it is a valuable time saver that can minimize certain risks. Because its advantage isn't obvious, it was important to have participant involvement in discussing pain points, potential solutions and company goals.
The same is true of the next steps- the team will need to be on board in order for changes to be adopted in the longterm. Assigning a leader within the team to make decisions about what inefficiencies will be tackled first, and who will support adoption by continuing to ask for feedback from the team, is an important recommendation. Also, involving the design team in the process would create a stronger channel of collaboration- and allow designers to have better access to hard earned research findings. Finally, deciding on metrics to help highlight what works and what doesn't would be a powerful way to further focus the knowledge management process to be as efficient as possible. These metrics might include usability testing of new setups or card sorting new data structures.
In conclusion, while this project morphed in scope as time went by, it proved to be important project with many learning opportunities. Like the cornerstone of a home, knowledge management is a foundational key in the research process.