The ‘Guess less’ design method

If you want to design digital products that can evolve to meet the changing needs of your customers, you need to know what they want. Introducing “Guess less” – a customer-centric design method that’s fuelled by real user feedback instead of intuition.

Designing and building user-focused technology has become a thriving industry, one which fuels it’s own fire by pushing boundaries and bridging the gap between problems and solutions.

There is a simple psychology when it comes to technology start ups, Aarron Walter, VP of Design Education at Invision once compared the start up psychology to the lottery.

"If someone is going to win, it might as well be me." - Aarron Walter, VP of Design Education at Invision

As product teams, designing and building digital products for customers, there is a tendency to use the ‘fail fast’ method in order to learn from your mistakes. There are many judgements and decisions to overcome when producing a digital product for market, “Is this better than the competitors?, Is this useable?, How will we continue to provide value to the customers?”…it goes on and on. If we don’t stop and learn from customers, then we are building products based on guesses or as Aaron mentions “we’re playing the lottery at high stakes”.

“If you don’t talk to your customers, how will you know how to talk to your customers?” – Will Evans – Design Thinker in Residence at NYU Stern

As product designers and teams we have a tendency to try to create things as quickly as possible so it can be improved but if we don’t understand all elements of the problem, how do we know we’re improving the right areas of a product.

We follow a number of techniques in order to gauge and collate rich feedback from customers so that we can still get to market quickly without making decisions based on guesses.

Survey and filter

Engaging survey methods allow us to build a collection of information from customers. There are a number of surveys that can be used to communicate with customers.

‘Onboarding’ surveys can provide information based on new users and could include questions such as ‘Have you transferred from another service?’ or ‘What attracted you to the service?’. Answers to these types of questions enable us to make informed decisions and analyse how the product is performing with new customers.

‘Account closing’ surveys for customers deciding to leave your service. Information from users deciding to cancel your service can provide some of the most important feedback about your product, it could be a miscommunication or specific feature but combining the results from these methods of feedback allow you to efficiently refine and identify the right areas of the product.

‘Feedback’ forms…the simple feedback form that we all know so well can provide some really interesting information by current users or users that are running into issues but have not yet reached the ‘Account closing’ stage.

These types of surveys will no doubt produce a mixture of results but the aim is to identify patterns of people with commonalities in rich feedback responses, these people will act as important features when improving the current design and future of your product.

Speak to people in person

The next step is to communicate with your quality responders using short scheduled phone call interviews. This will enable you to build relationships and dive deeper into their survey feedback. You never know where your conversation will lead and you may end up with more specific information about the product and how it’s being used.

Make time to review your customer’s responses

Configure a system to collate the feedback and allocate time every week to analyse your responses and identify high impact users that can allow you to loop back around into your ‘Guess less’ cycle.

by Tom Gamblin Director
March 5, 2017 Reading time: 2 minutes