Why You Do What You Did

Posted on May 27, 2016 by RJ Sherman

“How do you know that?”  It’s a question that is both confrontational and asked with good intentions.  In our evolving world of user-centered development, the expectation has shifted from “We think that users…” to “We know that users…”

The competitive nature of most industries ends up making a product a commodity – similar features, benefits, and price points.  Getting to know the reasons why clients chose you is important to be able to create an experience that resonates with your users and prospects.  

In a prior article, we looked at developing user-based and assumption-based personas. This article will take a look at developing the methods to uncover why a user invests in one particular solution above another.

To develop these types of insights, you must take the time to understand why your users made the decision to go with you. 

  • Conduct interviews with clients to learn what resonated with them in the decision-making process.  This highlights the features or services that stood out to them in comparison to your competitors.
  • Ask questions about what prompted them to look for a solution or product like yours, and what led them to you.  For example, what did the client dislike about past providers.
  • If you have the resources, ask users who did not go with your product to talk about why they decided against your product, as this will uncover areas for improvement. 

Now you have real information from your users on what stood out and why they made their decision to go with you.  Additionally, you may have several ideas on new functionality and content.  Prioritizing these features can be difficult.  Create focus groups to evaluate users’ reactions to new concepts.

Integrating these insights into your personas will allow you to answer the question “How do you know that?”  Additionally, you’ve learned more about why your product stands out and where improvement can be made.