When Marktplaats started their first Pioneer team (a product team exploring a specific topic) last year, I was thrilled to help them out by taking the role of UX designer in the team. And what an adventure it was! It was all about learning about users, creating a product strategy, and validating hypotheses by testing new concepts and conducting experiments. Of course, I can’t reveal Marktplaats latests secrets, but I have been working on research, concepts and experiments we launched in their products. In this post I will highlight the power of evidence we gathered with quantitative and qualitative research.
Finding the right problem
To truly innovate, you have to start with validating if you are solving the right problems. This is done with qualitative research (e.g. interviews, concept tests and surveys). This will help you define the problems of the user.
When you have identified the right problems to solve you start verifying your design solutions with measurable data. This is done with quantitative research (e.g. experiments build in the product and A/B testing). This helps to validate with more certainty if a solution is going to work. You are de-risking your assumptions. So, both ways of doing research complement each other.
What people say is not always what they do
User research and testing concepts is part of our DNA. Learning about users’ pain points, getting feedback from users as soon as possible and iterating quickly is how we work. We don’t waste time, money and energy with designing an idea for months only to find out that this is not solving the user’s problems.
There is one difficult thing when it comes to qualitative research: what people say during an interview or test is not always what they do in real life. Would they really act like that if they say so? To validate this we’ve built small and quick experiments in the Marktplaats app and website to get measurable data from a large amount of users.
Data does not tell us ‘why’
When validating solutions with data, a data analyst needs to analyse the user’s behaviour after launching experiments. Luckily at Marktplaats this role is always part of the team. This way we could get solid proof if users were interested in solutions we tested, were more engaged or even started trading more on Marktplaats in a short amount of time. That’s big!
There is also a difficult thing when it comes to quantitative research: why did people do (or don’t) something? You won’t get an answer on this with data. To figure this out we went back again to the user to get the ‘why’ behind their behavior clear to learn even more.
Actual evidence makes all the difference
We noticed that we always need both qualitative research and quantitative research during the whole project. Not only to find the right direction, but also to convince internal stakeholders that our solutions are actually improving the value of the product. There is a big difference between the evidence of six people saying something or the evidence of 600 people actually doing something. User research, designing and testing gives you a good start, get the data to prove your results, then you have a killer story to tell your company.
Innovation is a team sport
If you are starting with innovation in your company, make sure you have the right people on board to perform both qualitative and quantitative research to validate assumptions and solutions. At Hike One, we would love to help you decide what methods to use in your project and how you can start with lean innovation. Just contact us.