In November 2019, our team visited Web Summit. Our goal was to conduct a survey on the knowledge of the cx-aware development among attendees and its importance in the product design & development process.
As the event is highly startup-oriented, we chose startup founders and representatives as our focus group.
To get as much information as possible, we decided to prepare thoroughly in advance and effectively manage our time at the conference. For this reason, we’ve developed our approach, which we describe further.
A lot of product teams spend all of their time focusing on getting to the solution, but neglect the time and thinking involved in preparation. This case study is intended to help you understand how to conduct effective interviews and collect data provided that you carefully prepared.
Using the survey, we wanted to collect as much information as possible and get answers to the following questions:
How our potential customers approach the process of requirements formation?
How do companies structure their internal product management process?
We also wanted to better understand our target audience and improve our customer profile. The third one was extra credit. Because who wouldn’t want to improve it, right? Additionally, we wanted to validate our previous assumptions on the role of product design and development among the startups by conducting a series of interviews among the conference attendees (who could potentially be users of our service).
Taking the time to prepare thoroughly is important. It gives you confidence, helps to clearly define goals, and focus on gathering relevant information from your interviewee. First of all, we determined the outcomes that we wanted to achieve as a result of the survey.
Based on the desired outcomes we then prepared the list of questions and a script.
Each subsequent question in the survey logically flowed from the previous one.
To get prepared as efficiently as possible and optimize our time at the conference, we decided to simulate the situation on how we were going to interview the attendees.
By simulating the situation, we mean rehearsing. Rehearsing is the best way to make sure that everyone in the team is on the same page with goals and the process of collecting the information.
Rehearsing helps to clean up the questions, go through the script, and fix any issues if there are so
After we completed several cycles of test interviews, we found out that it was hard to engage the interviewee and took notes at the same time. Taking notes means you miss observing and carefully listening to the interviewee. We wanted to be completely involved in the conversation. We prepared a survey that consisted of several logically related questions that required true/false answers. We also wanted to have the option to write down a more detailed answer and attach an audio or photo files if necessary.
We could use the existing solutions for conducting surveys and collecting information, such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, but decided to go for our solution, and here’s why.
We love applications and products that are easy to use. It saves time, avoids headaches, and helps users accomplish their goals without confusion and irritation. With a small screen, finger navigation, and a limited amount of time, we wanted to make it easy to tap and recognize buttons. The small size of buttons forces you to move fingers with precision on the screen to tap the right button. With the existing solutions, we had to zoom in the screen to see the text and enter received information into the text field. As a result, we would have to keep an eye on the finger, the button to tap, and the interviewee.
In our case, the idea was to make bigger and finger-friendly buttons with an option to just tap “Yes” or “No”.
Solid buttons don’t present such problems as they have straight and large edges.
Thus we came up with the idea of creating a simple and easy-to-use application that would help us achieve the desired results. Using the application it was easy and fast for us to create a profile, and after talking with each participant enter the data received.
The next step was creating low fidelity wireframes, which included the basic visual elements and content placement. These wireframes allowed us to turn our ideas and assumptions into testable artifacts and see the functional side of the app.
You can create wireframes in all major design software. At this stage, we focus on the page structure, the general layout of the app, the way content information is presented, and the bigger picture of the app, rather than its visual aesthetics.
When we got to the graphic design phase of the app, we stuck to our brand book. By the way, our color palette was inspired by the Tokyo at night with all its neon lights.
The way it works is simple: open the app on any smartphone or tablet, fill in the survey electronically (it’s possible to do this offline for as many submissions as necessary - everything gets saved and backed up).
Later when there was Internet access, the app syncs all the data to a cloud server. Data from all devices of our team synced to the cloud server from where we downloaded as a single, aggregated, clean dataset.
It took us a week to develop the application.
Since each member of our team has different operating systems, we decided to make the application cross-platform using Flutter, the best tool to develop high-quality apps for Android and iOS. To store data and work with analytics, we use Firebase. In the case of the poor internet connection, we used an offline-first approach to developing a mobile app. An offline-first app allowed us to download updates from the server when the connection was available, while simultaneously uploading the changes that we made while being offline to the server.
We managed to interview attendees faster and more efficiently by automating the process of data collection
In general we conducted interviews and gathered real data from interviewing more than 100 startups
We polished our target customer profile and also found out more about the role of digital product design and development in startups
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