Too many companies realize why they should do user research too late, when they’ve already missed out on opportunities to make product development more effective, deliver high-impact launches and capture market share.
Every industry has a human element, but designing for healthcare means understanding that connection is the heart of medicine. All the new medicines and advancing technologies in healthcare mean nothing without the interactions between doctors and patients. When a person walks in complaining of an ache or pain, it’s the doctor’s job to use their knowledge and intuition to tease out details and offer a diagnosis. That process is intrinsic to the profession, and it’s why the doctor-patient relationship is so sacred.
It’s also the same process we use when building software for healthcare providers.
We know what user research is and why it has value. The next step is learning how to conduct user research in cost-effective way that still delivers maximum impact. A sprint is a user research methodology that allows you to gain insights on a target audience in just one week. The user research process works in any industry and for companies of any size, and it’s repeatable — if you need more insight or help understanding another group, the same process can be used each time.
Judith (left) and Aly (right), happy to finally be somewhere that values both project management and UX.
As a UX developer (Aly) and a project manager (Judith), we’ve both had jobs where the value of project management and UX wasn't recognized. We were written off as “overhead” or a “nice-to-have” instead of being treated like necessary functions that improve the final product.
For the client, the goal of working with a tech consultancy is simple — get as much value to the business as possible for your money. That’s how it should work. That’s how we want it to work. Clients are supposed to push back on us, ask questions about what we’re doing and help us align our work with their goals. Even if that means asking “What is this, can we cut it?”
As a project manager, it’s my job to help clients understand the value of what we’re doing. But when clients would ask about UX design, I didn’t feel like I had a good answer. I know that the value is there, but I could not voice it to my clients as well as I can for development.
I wanted to be able to better inform my clients and better advocate for my coworkers, so I added getting a better understanding of UX design to my professional development goals. I didn’t have joining a GV Design Sprint in mind, but when a new client hired us to work on a new product idea, joining the UX design team for two weeks on two GV Design Sprints seemed like the perfect way to get a crash course in design. Table XI covered the cost of me joining the sprint as an investment in my growth, so my participation was free to the client, and I was able to contribute while continuing to manage my other projects.
If you want to know the full power of a Google product design sprint, consider this: In one week we’re able to identify a new product or feature, build a prototype, and test it on real users. That’s impressive enough, but what’s truly remarkable is that design sprints let us do all this alongside our clients — and without tears or late nights. If anything, it makes us a stronger, better team.
I usually explain it to clients with this story: A bunch of admirals were asked to plan out a military campaign for a written exam. They were all accomplished strategists, but when confronted with a blank piece of paper, they all failed the test. So the navy paired them off, allowing each team to share notes. Instantly they started acing the test. All it took was that little bit of outside perspective, all of the sudden you see a bigger picture.
Movie nights are a time-honored tradition at Table XI. Iterating over summers we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to put on a great show. What exactly does it take? Let me tell you using a few UX principles.
Or, how a vacation taught my family what I do at work.
Do your grandparents squint when you refer to usability testing? Is your roommate nonplussed when you name drop the great Don Norman? Are you passionate about what you do but have trouble explaining it? If so, you and I might share a similar user issue.