Transforming Product Development: A Guide to Strategic UX Research Integration

Episode 5, 3 mins



Transforming Product Development: A Guide to Strategic UX Research Integration

Welcome to Next Gen UX, where we explore the benefits of strategic UX research to help you ride the wave to better innovation. I’m Karyn Zuidinga. I am the founder and CEO of Next Wave Innovation.

A lot of product teams that I talk to are keen to integrate strategic UX research into their product development process, but they’re just not sure how.

Kind of like my friend here with the square peg. 

In this episode, we’ll explore the product development process and opportunities for incorporating strategic UX research into each phase.

First, let’s look at the product development process. We got early stage where we’re thinking about the ideas. We’ve got the design stage where we’re taking those ideas and developing them into early prototypes. Then we’ve got the testing and iteration stage. The post launch and optimization stage. And then we’ve got the ROI stage. 

 The testing iteration stage typically is where tactical UX research shows up. It’s the usability testing portion. And what I’ve seen in a lot of places is that it’s one usability test, for one thing, once. 

Now let’s look at how strategic UX research might fit in. In the early stage, we might use strategic research to uncover unknown and unmet user needs, explore the periphery, and develop a deep understanding of your customer base.

In the design stage, we might use strategic UX research to support and guide the design process, with testing multiple different prototypes at a feature and at a system level. 

At the testing and iteration stage, we might use strategic UX research to go beyond usability testing to think more programmatic maybe using the feedback from usability testing on one product to inform some early stage research on another.

 At the post launch and optimization stage, we’re focusing on continuous user engagement, proactive optimization, and building customer loyalty. 

And finally, in the ROI stage, at this point, we can build in some UX metrics into our ROI calculation, maybe SUS and TAM or something else. 

To understand where your research practice is at, you can do a rough measure, maybe low, medium, high, across all five stages of product development, and think about where you sit, either more on the traditional side or more on the strategic side at each phase. The more you shift your practice into a strategic mindset, the more innovative your products are going to be.

I’m Karyn Zuidinga. I’m an innovation researcher and designer with a passion for exploring the periphery. I specialize in leading strategic UX research to drive innovation. Moving from insight to action, I work with my clients to bring big ideas to life.

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