From sticky notes to common user research themes
I read a LinkedIn post recently (but can’t find it now!), which talked about an alternative way of launching a product.
It wasn’t all about “forget about your social and work life, just ship fast and iterate.” Nope. Instead, it presented another way: ship when you can amidst your busy personal and professional life.
And, I think that’s the exact vibe I’m feeling for our side project. Both Gavin (the MVP when it comes to Product) and I are busy (same as any other adult), but just because we can’t ship it fast, it doesn’t mean the project is in the bin.
For context, I covered our product development process in these blog posts:
- Building a digital product: our journey so far
- Creating the first product storyboard
- Diving into user research (without a product yet)
drawing board living room wall
Up to this point, we had collected disconnected pieces of information from several target audience members. Each interview revealed several sub-themes within itself.
The next step was to start tracing any commonalities we found, and see if any new themes emerged—which could be basis for considering specific features.
Gavin talks about this:
“We saw lots of commonalities between people we interviewed, some of it felt quite obvious (people are sometimes impulse buyers!) and a lot of it was brand new to me, not having much of a skincare routine outside soap and water.
In all those conversations, and little stories that people tell you, we've now got a fair bit of evidence to back some of our thoughts and assumptions. We're got evidence from prospective users that they agree with some of our inner beliefs about the need/gap, as well as a whole load of stories about things they find frustrating about skincare.”
So, how did we put this stage into practical steps?
- Gavin, I, and both our partners (who are colleagues at a sports tech company) met up one night after work—with some pizza. 🍕
- Gavin printed out all of the interviews I conducted and each one of us picked up a couple.
- We had a handful of broader categories mapped out on a wall, such as “Feelings,” “Interaction with others,” “Pains,“ and “Gains.”
- Gavin set a timer and we all read the individual interviews we picked up and wrote down on sticky notes user statements that fit within those categories.
- After time was up and we stuck our post its on the wall, we individually ran the rest of the group through the interviewee’s beliefs and thoughts that fit across the different categories.
- We then split up in groups of two, picked a few categories per group, and started mapping out sub-themes that showed up in user statements, for example, “Interactions with others” created sub-themes like “Product recommendations” and “Gift and share with family.”
- I digitized all our sticky notes so they can be easily viewed in a shared Notion page.
Having done the first sticky notes session, we now need to:
- Review and update wireframes based on user feedback and identified problems.
- Identify a compelling value proposition for the product.
- Generate personas using tools like Figma and Notion (here’s my affiliate link).
- Conduct detailed research through surveys to gather broader insights.
- Gather early feedback on refined wireframes.
- Explore social advertising to gauge user interest.
- Determine the minimum viable product (MVP) based on feedback.
- Plan the most efficient route to launch the MVP.