Instead of relying on a verbal recount of experience, ask users to show you how they use a product or service. What people say they do is often quite different than what they do.
Observing users in action will help you understand the spectrum of experiences users can have with the same product or service.
Surveys, interviews, questionnaires, and focus groups don’t tell you what you need to know. Prompting users to show instead of tell often reveals what others have missed.
We leveraged screenshare to conduct “guided think-aloud observations” of users interacting with the Step UP platform. This helped us understand how users interacted with the product and identify framing and features that were confusing or missed entirely.
We launched a simple landing page offering faculty and staff the option to advertise and apply for volunteer opportunities in the spring of 2020 when COVID-19 efforts needed support. More than 50 projects were posted to the platform in the first 30 days, and several matches were made. Users rated their experience highly and shared feedback about their experience.
Piloting a barebones version of the website helped us validate demand for a service like Step UP. It also enabled us to gather insights about what kind of features users needed before investing in the development of a fully functional platform.