This November, The Human Insight Summit (THiS) Connect London provided a special opportunity for attendees to access a community of leaders across Digital, Product, Design, and UX.
The summit took place at County Hall, a historic venue perched on London’s Southbank. With stunning views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, it was an ideal setting for a day of inspiration and connection. Hundreds of attendees joined us to learn, share, and network with like-minded business leaders.
THiS Connect London: UserTesting leadership keynote
The event kicked off with a joint keynote from UserTesting leadership, led by CEO, Andy MacMillan. The core message centred on incorporating insights throughout the product development lifecycle by embedding a cross-team, collaborative approach to create increased efficiency through faster decision making and reduced rework in the process Key themes included:
Delivering customer value and ROI with human insight
Digital teams are now making decisions faster at each stage of the development process. Because products and experiences evolve faster, early mistakes have the potential to compound quickly. Failing to correct mistakes early in the process can be costly, but organisations can change that cost curve by investing early in human insight.
UserTesting champions continuous customer learning between design and development. Our experience has shown that “gating” product decisions (requiring customer validation before development) can have a big impact on the moment of truth when the product or experience hits the market. Historically, attaching a metric to that validation has been difficult for organisations. However, our QXscore has been a game changer in serving that need. Organisations are now using it to quantify a digital experience’s readiness for the market and finding great success.
Driving impact more efficiently with UserTesting AI
Teams today are being asked to do more with less. The question for many organisations is: How can we scale with fewer people and shrinking budgets? Research has shown that 65% of designers feel they don’t have the resources they need from research teams and 44% of UX researchers say they can’t keep up with their requests. We advocate approaching these common bottlenecks as unique opportunities for growth and are working on solutions to help teams navigate these areas.
UserTesting AI is one solution for turning bottlenecks into force multipliers. Using the largest purpose-built dataset of its kind, we can unlock efficiencies at every stage of the product development process — transforming the way teams gather, analyse, and act on user insights. Far from taking jobs, our development of AI features has always focused on helping human beings do their jobs more easily and effectively.
The last theme of the keynote centred on how UserTesting works with organisations to help them scale and improve their product development lifecycles. Since merging with UserZoom, we can now offer an end-to-end solution that addresses all product needs in one place. We partner with organisations to help them navigate their unique journeys, providing training and enablement to get teams started, process experts to extend teams, and full service implementation to accelerate change.
Customer stories and expert insights
Next up, attendees heard from thought leaders at organisations that have successfully implemented UserTesting and are benefitting from an emphasis on human insight.
Picsart: Creating a customer-centric product organisation and building the top-rated app in the UK
When he arrived at Picsart, Oli Mival’s goal was to build empathy for customers at an organisation that was historically engineering-minded and facing market challenges. He’s been able to move customer insights from a box-ticking exercise to an embedded part of the team’s thinking.
No more “build fast, adjust later.” The team is now more aware of the negative impact that “pace-over-quality” thinking can have. Teams are now making higher-confidence development decisions across Picsart, resulting in the organisation producing the number 1-rated app in the UK.
ASOS: Driving highly efficient and collaborative product development across teams
ASOS’ Head of Product Design, Kate Brook-Hart and Head of Technology, Hayley Murphy, discussed tactics for breaking down barriers between engineering and product throughout the product development lifecycle. They identified a theme of blockers when each team passed the project down the product development process – misalignment and pushback, slowing down time to delivery due to costly rework. Their solution was to embed a cross-collaborative team, from the start to the end of every project.
They restructured the way their teams were organised, focusing more on holistic journeys rather than specific projects. Engagement between product design and engineering was facilitated through regular ideation sessions that allowed cross-functional sharing of ideas. This culture shift has brought them closer to their customers and increased efficiency through faster decision making and reduced rework in the process, giving them the confidence to go after their ‘big rock’ items and deliver on the company strategy. Collaboration is key.
British Airways: Empowering teams and scaling insights
Lead UX Researcher, Rocío Calvo Martín, shared how she was able to change internal perceptions at British Airways by showing how quickly research can be conducted and drive impact. Rocío discussed the framework she used to empower and scale insights across design and product owners. Quarterly workshops were introduced to upskill the design and product teams to demonstrate the areas where user insights could be used to make decisions. User insights started to be prioritised based on business needs and skills.
This shift in perceptions from “slow speed to insights” and the “misunderstood value of customer insights” has now aligned how the team collaborates throughout the product development lifecycle. The British Airways team are continuing to make the process even easier for the teams with improved documentation, common project templates and better tracking of customer insights conducted by other teams. This led to a 560% YoY increase in customer insights at the company, with more teams and stakeholders embracing the value of customer insights for making critical decisions.
Rocío’s 4 key learnings:
- Start explaining why you are doing this and the value it will bring
- Make sure everyone feels supported
- Don’t force teams, it’s a gradual process
- Be open to suggestions
GSK, Vanquis Bank, and The Met Office: Changing mindsets, driving collaboration and proving the value of customer insights in digital product development
Jon Warden of GSK, Yenny Otero of Vanquis Bank, and Chris Frost of the Met Office, are all great believers in the need for cross functional collaboration to build exceptional digital products and experiences. But due to the scale, complexity or regulatory nature of the industries they work within, they’ve faced challenges along the way.
During the discussion, they shared how they were able to overcome some of these challenges and successfully implement strategies to reinvent the way digital products are developed across teams.
Yenny emphasised the importance of using the vocabulary of stakeholders and understanding where the value lies for each of them to influence change. In the Financial Services world for example: money, risk, and regulations are the biggest driving forces. Yenny advocated for understanding the problem before you start the solution.
For Jon, bringing in the human factor to win hearts and minds is key. We need to understand the human context as much as we deliver on the capabilities. He also advocated for why user insights need to be an exciting experience for those involved. To implement change in an organisation, some PR is required. You have to be able to articulate and prove value.
Chris made the point that it’s important to create a safe space with research. Ego should be left at the door. Let your work be critiqued, understand what stakeholders care about, take them along on your journey and work together to elicit change.
- Don’t buy-in to “pace-over-quality” thinking.
- Foster collaboration between design and development throughout the product development lifecycle.
- Democratise research by upskilling and supporting your product design team.
- Understand what matters to stakeholders so that you can use their vocabulary when communicating the value of human insight.
- Don’t forget the lives of the human beings doing the work.
Join us at THiS 2024
London was incredible. Now we’re eyeing a change of scenery in the Lone Star State. We’ll be traveling to Austin, Texas for THiS 2024. Grab a ticket now and we’ll see you there!
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