Sep 28, 2023

Is AI About to Give UX its YouTube Moment?



Rick van der Werf

Last week, a piece of feedback from one of our customer success calls caught my eye— a user's need so specific and yet universally relatable, it would have never emerged in a regular user interview our UX researchers and POs conduct. This made me ponder: Are our UX researchers overlooking a goldmine of insights by primarily relying on user interviews and usability tests?

The Current Landscape: User Interviews and Their Limitations

User interviews have been the backbone of UX research for ages. They offer a direct line to the user, helping us understand their motivations, behaviors, and pain points. But they come with challenges:

  • Time Intensive: Compiling interviewee lists, scheduling, script creation, post-processing, and the list goes on.

  • Biases: The environment or even a researcher’s presence can inadvertently skew responses.

  • Limited Scope: With a select group of interviewees, we may miss out on broader perspectives or novel issues.

Beyond Interviews: The Untapped Reservoir

Every day, users interact with our products and people across various channels, and each touchpoint is a potential insight source:

  • Sales Calls: These can reveal unmet needs or objections, hinting at product enhancements or tweaks in our pitch.

  • Support Tickets: Direct indicators of pain points, these can spotlight areas where our UI or UX might be falling short.

  • Customer Success Interactions: A treasure trove of information on long-term user satisfaction, possible upgrades, or areas of improvement.

Collectively, these interactions outnumber user interviews by magnitudes. Yet, we've hesitated to tap into them due to their volume and perceived "lower quality". But what if we had a tool that could efficiently handle this volume and filter out the noise?

The AI Game Changer

In the vast sea of user data, AI is our modern-day compass, pointing directly to buried treasures of insights. With its capabilities like pattern recognition and sentiment analysis, AI doesn't just help us manage the overwhelming volume of data — it transforms it into actionable insights. Imagine reanalyzing old support tickets with a fresh research question in mind and uncovering patterns you missed the first time. This is the power of AI: not just to assist, but to revolutionize our approach to UX and democratizing insights.

The YouTube Paradigm Shift

Think back to the early 2000s. Television dominated our screens, offering a curated content collection. Then came YouTube—democratizing content creation and consumption. Although a considerable portion of content on the platform might be deemed "low quality", the sheer volume ensures that there's still a vast array of high-quality content, surpassing traditional TV. And crucially, YouTube lowered barriers, enabling niche content to flourish and offering viewers an unprecedented choice array.

Could we be on the brink of a similar revolution in UX research?

UX researchers have an opportunity to continuously refine their methodologies. AI offers a promising avenue to do just that. As we contemplate this potential shift, I invite you to reflect: Are we ready to harness AI's power and reshape the UX research paradigm?

Have you experienced an AHA!' moment from unexpected feedback sources? Do you see AI as the game-changer in UX research? Join the conversation below.

Photo: Ronny Roeller