Guide #015: How to build digital products that bridge the gap between business goals and user goals

Business goals are the foundation upon which user behaviors are concepted. However, to build great products, teams must switch their perspective from the business to empathize with users.

Create shared responsibility to agree on which metrics are most impactful

Product, UX and Engineering teams are responsible for a process of translating business goals into features or products. Ultimately business goals are the primary driver; however, during this process, business goals become the foundation upon which a user behavior or sequence of behaviors is concepted. The Product team, consisting of Product Managers, Engineers and UX professionals should share responsibility in determining what metrics are most important and what analytics should be collected. Other collaborators like Marketing or Sales should be encouraged to contribute to an end-to-end user journey to identify what conversion points are most meaningful to the business.

Determine what learnings should be extracted from user behavior

User behavior, or rather a hypothesis of a user behavior should be used to form the basis for a list of questions that the team can collect data around. If you have UX researchers on your team, these are a great resource to help create a list of questions to ask your user base. When producing this list, the team must switch their perspective from the business to empathize with users' primary goals and ask the question, what are users trying to accomplish with your feature or product? Structure your research around gathering data to answer this question, or to gain confidence in your hypothesis.

Measure responses from your user base

At a certain point, designing additional variations of an experience without informed user insights can become ineffective and delay timelines. Put your design, or multiple designs, out into the world for A/B testing and user feedback. Use customer sentiment feedback to gauge positive and negative signals from your user base. You’ll need to dig deeper by using methods like user interviews to understand how people respond to and use your product. Correlate user feedback to the team’s learning objectives to bridge the gap between business goals and user goals.

Use best-in-class experiences to establish a baseline for what works and what doesn’t

The team should be aware of the best-in-class experiences that exist for the particular user behavior they’re trying to drive. Sometimes this exists outside of the industry which the team operates in. However, time as well as UX Researcher expertise should be allotted to understanding what established behaviors exist, and where users are happy or dissatisfied with a particular execution.

Guard against unintended consequences of a solution that may cause design or tech debt

In some cases, the proposed solution to a problem can lower the overall user experience, or create technical challenges that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Within complex digital products, and even simple ones, a given solution has trade offs. This is where a strong communication line with Product, UX and Engineering is key. Leaving out Engineering (for example) from key decision-making could ultimately increase product scope down the road.

Understand how engineering teams build the experiences you’re driving

Seek to understand how engineering teams build a particular feature or product. What are the technical constraints or sequence of events that need to happen “behind the scenes” of an experience? Understanding how a digital product is built will give you additional context as to why users might need to have a certain experience and additionally what might be done to create improvements.

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