If you need to get a step ahead of your product development cycle, the best way to do so is by studying your users. Integrating user research into product development is one of the best ways to implement the goals of the user into your future plans, and there are many ways you can directly integrate this feedback.
In this article, we will talk about some strategies to help incorporate user research into your product development cycle and we’ll walk through some of the advantages of doing so.
Strategies to Integrate User Research
After conducting user research and discovering the needs of the customer, you need to find a way to integrate their feedback into your product. Depending on the strategies you use to enable product development there are multiple ways to integrate this feedback into your workflow, some of which we’ll go over right now.
1. Create a Shared Board to Compare Ideas
Creating a shared whiteboard is a perfect place to compare the possible product changes with the feedback that your user research is showing. Being able to visualize the differences between the needs of your customers and the potential changes in your product roadmap is a great way to see the discrepancy and reprioritize what’s most important to the user.
The visualization of this information is a big advantage of using online whiteboards, and you can use this space to create an organizational structure that allows you to best comprehend the feedback you’re receiving.
2. Put User Feedback Directly on Your Roadmap
Beyond simply organizing ideas on a shared board, you can use online whiteboards to integrate user research directly into your product roadmap.
When creating and updating a roadmap you can dynamically add user feedback as you complete your research and integrate this directly to your roadmap.
This is the best way to effectively add user research into your roadmap and ensure that the results are implemented into the final product.
3. Conduct User Research In-Sync With Your Development Cycle
One reason user research is so helpful is it aligns nicely with the iterative nature of product development. If something doesn’t work for your users the first time, you can gather their feedback and use it to directly impact the next round of development.
Conducting research on a regular basis helps ensure that you’re developing the most useful solution for your users. When you know if your solution meets an existing need or not, you can use this information to best inform your path forward.
4. Use a UX Research Plan Template
One good way that you can organize your user research is by using a UX research plan template. This is a board that has a couple of rows to organize the different sections and questions that you have for your user research.
This is really important for conducting user research and provides a platform for you to use this research in your product development. When you have a very organized template you can use to easily gather feedback and implement it directly into your product roadmap, it makes this feedback more accessible and useful to your team.
Why Integrating User Research is Important
Being able to conduct user research is super important, but understanding the importance of user feedback is the foundation of integrating it into your product development. If you aren’t focusing on the user experience first and foremost, you will always be one step behind with the goals of your customers. Here are some of the reasons why integrating user research is so important.
1. Ensure Product Relevancy
User research is super important for many reasons, and the biggest reason is to confirm that your goals match the goals of the customer. By learning about specific intentions from the horse’s mouth, you can create a clear picture of exactly what is required to meet the customer’s needs.
By researching the user’s current experience and finding its holes, you can ensure that the product you’re creating is relevant to their needs. This will help increase the rate at which people adopt and retain your product and will help you grow faster.
When analyzing relevancy, it’s important to touch base with your customers often because as their roles evolve their needs might change as well. This means that as you conduct new phases of user research, you can iterate this feedback into new product development cycles.
2. Improve Product Development
Improving product development is always important to increase team efficiency and allowing user research to guide your development cycles means you can focus on what’s really important in the eyes of the user.
Allowing users to guide product development is the best way to ensure your team is working towards the most productive goals possible and creating immediate value for the user.
3. Improve Team Alignment
Integrating user research into the product development process is super helpful for increasing the accuracy and relevancy of the product, but it also helps build consensus within your team.
Using this data, your team can align themselves towards a north star of direct customer feedback, something that is super helpful when creating an accurate vision of what the product needs to be. After your team is fully aligned with the ideal vision for your product, you can move forward with a shared idea of what the end result will look like and work towards that efficiently with your team.
4. Create Strategy Indicators
User research is not only helpful at the product development level, but it can have important indicators of product and company strategy as well. Aligning your company strategy with the vision and goals of your users is incredibly important and can have implications for the relevance and disability of your entire product.
For example, if you gather some user research and their feedback is misaligned with your existing strategy, it might be a good idea to rethink the company and product strategy. Ensuring that these goals are aligned with the goals of your users is a great way to ensure usability and relevance to your customers.
Learn more: 8 Useful Product Roadmap Examples
Your product is only as important and useful as it is relevant, and integrating user research into product development cycles is the best way to ensure that our product remains relevant to your users. If you found this guide helpful, make sure you check out our article on fulfilling customer needs.