Finding out what the end user really thinks.
When working with product information, you are often a link between the customer and their end user. Being that link means you need to understand what the end user wants – and needs – to be able to improve the user experience through digital product information. Team leader Madeleine Johansson tells the story about how user studies helped both her team and the customer to better understand the different end users.
With a background in cognitive science, I have a great interest in human behaviour and user research. When I joined Semcon as a technical communicator in 2019, I did not know that user studies were in scope. So, when I found out we were doing a user study for a global car manufacturer, I made sure I was included in the project. The best way to understand the end users’ need is to talk to them, and I wanted to be part of that.
From what I learned, conducting user studies for customers are not very common within product information. For my team, this was a great opportunity. We are very proud that we got the chance to perform the first user study – but also that we have the trust to keep doing them.
How the study was conducted
The study was repeated this year and was led by my colleague and me. First, we conducted an online survey with more than 1000 respondents. This gave us a quantitative measure with important data from the end users. We followed up with a clinic – a user test performed at Semcon headquarters in Gothenburg. In this part we focused on the qualitative data. A smaller selection of relevant and representative participants were asked to perform different tasks connected to the car. In addition, the user test was followed by an interview with a set manuscript.
Changes in end user behaviour
The best part is to meet the end user, but what comes after is also very interesting, analysing the data. I find it exciting to summarise and draw hypotheses from the results of our study. The lessons were many. Especially being able to compare the results from the user study done in 2019 and this year, there is a clear trend in how the end users’ behaviour changes over time.
What I found most striking is how different users behave during a clinic. How much personalities and temperaments influence their behaviour. For instance, there are so many ways to solve a problem. One participant would search the web for the answer while another would call to someone they thought could help them out. The clinic also highlighted the importance of a good user experience, participants would get notably annoyed when they did not find the solution right away.
Improving the digital product information
The results and our hypotheses from the user study is valuable to us as we continuously improve on the user information for the car, making sure that the information suits all different kinds of user needs. It is also incredibly beneficiary for the customer to know how their users differ in behaviour and needs, or when they actually do not. One such finding was the broad change in support for fully digital user information between the first and second study. Conducting user studies is interesting and needed in many aspects for the area of product information to give us an insight in who we are writing for and a base for development and improvement. The more we learn about our users, the better product information we can deliver.