Now that your UX research has been synthesized and shaped into a compelling story backed by data — what’s the best way to get it into the hands of decision-makers (and the rest of the team)?
1. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
What’s the saying about repeating something 7 times before it sinks in? True or not, I find repetition is the best method for implanting research findings into others’ brains.
Bring past researching findings forward into new research reports. Never assume older insights are old news.
In cognitive neuroscientist Carmen Simon‘s studies, she found people forget up to 90% of what you communicate.
2. Research Sound Bites
Repackage research insights as infographics or PPT slides that can be used by others throughout the organization in their own deliverables and reports.
3. Research Library
For one of my clients, I uploaded every research report and interview recording into a network directory that was accessible to everyone in their marketing department.
Every research report followed the same naming convention, so that others could easily find relevant findings:
4. Communication Tools
Get research findings out of PowerPoint and into more hands-on communication tools and activities, such as:
- Customer journey maps
- Storyboards / comic strips
- Empathy maps
- Role-playing exercises
- Activation workshops
You may have seen the lengths some organizations go to create immersive experiences. Videos, artifacts, and placards detail the insights uncovered about their target audience in a museum-like setting.
You can do something similar for a lot less expense and formality…
Take over an empty office or a blank wall by taping up print-outs of your research findings. Post print-outs of your mock-ups and then write insights directly on them or tag areas with sticky notes.
One time, I created a little vignette about each diary study participant — using their photo, demographics, and diary entries. Using different color markers, I highlighted parts of the diary entries to help casual observers quickly focus on key information and themes.
Slack, or other internal online communities, is a great use for your research sound bites. Create and share infographics to help reinforce insights about your customers.
Another idea: create a channel devoted entirely to research insights.
7. Google Sheets
Using Google Sheets and Docs is a fast way to update data in real-time. Keep the whole team informed by uploading interview notes or recaps at the end of each work day.
Use Google Sheets to track usability issues. Over time, the team can see which usability issues fade away or continue to bedevil users.
Caution: I’ve tried typing my interview notes directly into Google during a session, but have gotten burned. Translation: lost interview notes.
8. Private YouTube
MP3 files are often too big to email, which makes sharing usability sessions difficult, if not impossible. To get around this, I upload the videos to YouTube — set to “private.”
Other storage options: Google Drive, Vimeo, Dropbox.
Among my colleagues, I’m well-known for my love of posters. Choose topics that require a highly visual story, then go big! I love printing giant posters for customer journey maps, site maps, complex user flows, and competitive analyses.
At Staples, you can print black and white 3×4-foot posters (called blueprints) for around $4. Color posters also are very reasonably priced.
10. TV Show
Develop your own reality TV show based on your target audience. Whether monthly or quarterly, create episodes that showcase how customers interact with your products in their everyday lives.
UK grocer, Asda has produced a monthly TV show called “Our Home” for the past 2 years. The episodes are storyboarded in advance and are built around themes, such as “Halloween.” The show’s “stars” are 9 real families who were intercepted while shopping in their grocery stores (then vetted via follow-up IDIs).
11. Insights Database
Individual insights quickly become forgotten when they’re trapped in research reports. Ensure research insights remain accessible by inputting and tagging them individually in a searchable database.
Build your own database, or try companies like Airtable, Trello, or Asana.
For teams on the go, create a podcast series. Interview a UX researcher or product manager about their most recent study, and ask them to share their insights.
If you’re conducting a longer diary study, share IDIs or read aloud participants’ written diary entries. Or, intercut IDI clips with a discussion about what the research participant just talked about.
13. Story Book
Collect photos and stories from real customers, and then publish them in a hardbound, four-color book. The goal of this book is to strengthen the empathy the team has for their users.
Tip: Ensure the team doesn’t mistake these stories for personas—they are significantly different.