Product Discovery

Product Discovery

Aug 23, 2023

Mr. UX Researcher, Tear Down This Wall!



Ronny Röller

Bridging the Gap: Why Sharing Raw Data Empowers Both Product Owners and UX Researchers

The pulse of any digital product is its users. As product teams, our most sacred mission is to understand and respond to the needs, pain points, and aspirations of these users. Enter the UX researcher, the unsung hero of the digital age. Through meticulously designed interviews, they draw out user perspectives, wishes, and frustrations, synthesizing them into cohesive reports that help shape the trajectory of our products.

Yet, a wall has been erected between product owners and the raw, unfiltered sentiments of users. Today, the common practice is for UX researchers to conduct these interviews, retreat to their metaphorical labs, and emerge with synthesized reports. These reports are no doubt invaluable, meticulously crafted, and insightful. However, they limit us in several crucial ways:

1. Nuanced Context: Every user's response is embedded in a unique context. Having access to this context can help teams better understand and cater to user needs. Reports, though enlightening, may lose some of these nuances.

2. Inspiration for Technical Solutions: By sharing raw data during grooming sessions, developers can directly hear the voice of the user. This not only sparks motivation but also encourages creative technical solutions addressing the root user needs.

3. Empathy Empowerment: Diving into the raw feedback from users fosters a deeper empathy. Product owners can prioritize features more in line with genuine user needs, rather than being swayed by the loudest shareholder.

There's an underlying sentiment, perhaps a subconscious one, that product owners might misinterpret or misuse this raw data. Some might even fear it makes the UX researcher's role obsolete. On the contrary, it amplifies the importance of UX work. By working in tandem, product owners can provide richer context, challenge assumptions, and collaboratively make decisions with the researcher.

By withholding raw data, we unintentionally throttle the full potential of our products. Instead of a linear flow of information—researcher to report to product owner—we ought to encourage a more circular, inclusive model. A model where the product owner, developer, and researcher collectively tap into the raw sentiments of the user, leading to products that resonate deeper and broader.

Mr. UX Researcher, the wall of limited access limits us all. We value and respect your expertise, but we also crave the direct connection to the voices that shape our product's destiny. Together, let's tear down this wall and forge a more cohesive, empathetic, and user-centric future.

Source: (European Cyclists' Federation)

Source cover image: (Karen Neoh)