Building a Compelling UX Research Roadmap
A research roadmap holds immense value to a UX researcher. It aids in achieving an alignment and conveying set priorities, planning user experience data and studies, and focusing on the main goal of designing a user-friendly product/service. Also, while research is a good way to understand a user and their interaction with a service, by creating a step-by-step process of it, using a few focus principles aids in getting necessary data in order.
UX Research Roadmap
Having a UX research roadmap aids in creating definitive plans that focus on a team’s primary research goals and look into strategising ways of achieving them. It acts as a timeline regarding the studies that are to be conducted in order to attain those goals.
A UX research roadmap acts as a blueprint of the research conducted, regarding the goals related to the user experience of a service/product, user research as well as the user interface. Product teams utilise this roadmap to ensure usability remains the main priority through the stages of development of a service/product.
Creating a UX Research Roadmap
Every new project or product team attempts to gather ideas by compiling them into a research document. By creating a UX research roadmap, there is concrete documentation of the steps involved, making the process easier in the years to come. The process involved in creating a UX Research roadmap is quite explicit and is formatted through -
Understanding and incorporating stakeholder requirements
Accounting for stakeholder needs is one of the most invaluable ways to create an impactful UX Research roadmap. One of the best ways to understand team needs is through conducting stakeholder interviews, which includes not just the designers who are working on the service/product but other members of the product team as well. The primary task of every researcher is to help the product team through practical insights and synthesis of the interview. The most ideal way of placing these studies is through a clear understanding of the product’s roadmap.
Assessing the current status of the research conducted
One of the best ways to evaluate research is to assess it with existing research material. By looking into data that has already been worked on, a clear understanding of what is already known about the product/service is achieved. Dedicating adequate time to understanding the existing knowledge of the UX team regarding a product and its potential users, not only helps save significant time but also helps to avoid doing repetitious studies.
Identifying primary research goals
On the basis of stakeholder needs and pre-existing research material, identify the primary research goals and main direction. This will help to list out the important questions regarding users and the product. This will also help to improve best practices and existing frameworks. It also enables sharing of knowledge and information, leading to better data-driven insights that help UX teams design better.
Planning research studies
After the identification of key research goals, it is necessary to focus on what the studies will help to achieve. While tactical studies focus mainly on the product roadmap, strategic studies focus on achieving the long-term goals, including creating personas and understanding whole user journeys.
Creating a timeline
This helps to make communication with stakeholders a lot easier. Distributing the studies conducted and insights received helps create a clear overview of the timings of all the studies. Adequate time should be given in order to procure meaningful insights. UX teams are usually able to provide rough estimates as to how much time is necessary to create the first prototype, thus enabling the planning of evaluative analyses accordingly.
Sharing the plan
Once the roadmap is created, the plan is shared with the stakeholders. It is necessary to highlight the gaps and ways of addressing them. Sharing the roadmap with stakeholders assures them that their invaluable insights have been taken into consideration. It will ensure they continue to provide unbiased feedback and establish a persistent engagement as your UX team embarks on the research roadmap.
Benefits of a UX Research Roadmap
Some of the key benefits of having a UX Research roadmap are -
It assists in prioritising user experience throughout the stages of development
When designing a new product, UX teams often focus on what they’d want the product to do and the features it is looking to incorporate within it. By assembling a UX research roadmap, development teams are able to build an understanding of the company goals and user expectations and work towards aligning the two to create flexible and smooth user experiences.
It aids in considering minor flaws and requirements that would have been missed otherwise
Having a dedicated UX Research roadmap is advantageous to the UX researcher too. It helps in keeping track of all the data from all research sessions in a set format and ensures no insight is missed or goes unnoticed. In this way, vital information that might have been overlooked gets added in as well.
It helps to reinstate the importance of UX research and usability
Forming a favorable user experience is a noteworthy factor in a product’s market success. Along with the benefits discussed, a UX Research roadmap also affects a product's success significantly. By maintaining a UX Research roadmap, cross-functional teams are made aware of the importance of user experience to a product and also understand the need behind having a dedicated roadmap for it.
A UX Research roadmap aids in communicating what the entire UX team is working on. It helps to champion usability and also enables the UX team to work in a synchronised manner, ensuring no vital information goes unnoticed. While no one product is similar to another, having a research roadmap guarantees that there is a fixed path followed, when interacting with users, stakeholders, and the product at hand. This assures that the user is always given prime importance and keeps every member of the team well informed of the research conducted and the data available at hand.
- What is a UX Research Roadmap?
It is a blueprint of the research conducted, regarding goals related to the user experience of a service/product, user research as well as the user interface.
- How to create a UX Research Roadmap?
The UX Research Roadmap is a six-step process, consisting of - Understanding and incorporating stakeholder requirements, Assessing the current status of research conducted, Identifying primary research goals, Planning research studies, Creating a timeline, and sharing the plan.
- What are the benefits of a UX Research Roadmap?
The benefits of a UX Research Roadmap are - It assists in prioritising user experience throughout the stages of development, It aids in considering minor flaws and requirements that would’ve been missed otherwise and It helps to reinstate the importance of UX Research and usability.