The product manager is the voice of the user. In this ProductTank San Francisco talk, Yue Wu – Head of Product for Home & Local Services at Yelp – gives some stories and tips for understanding users and how to be more convincing as a product manager. This talk also includes a Q&A session at the end where Yue is joined by Brian Tran, Director of Product Management at User Testing.
Watch the video to see her talk in full. Or read on for an overview of her key points:
- Feature planning with user research
- Designing with user research
- What this means for me
- Improving product design with user research
Feature Planning With User Research
Users don’t know what features they want. User research can be used to get users to show you what they don’t want to tell you. If a user is asked “how would you improve this product?” the answer they give may not actually get them to use the product more. Instead, through user research, product people can understand user intent and use it to develop what users need and not what they thought they wanted.
Designing With User Research
Leverage user research in the design of the product. Through design prototypes and eye tracking, you can get data to see how users are working with a product. Where are their eyes on the page? Over time it’s possible to develop a sixth sense of what users lack and help create the best features for them.
What This Means for Me
As a product person, it is important to remember that any unbiased research is better than no research. There are two ways to gather research from a user in a neutral habitat. Generative research for idea generation by observing what they would do to solve a problem or perform usability tests to see how they use your product and identify issues in the product or design.
Improving Product Design Returns With User Research
In this Q&A session, Yue is joined by Brian to give answers to the audience from both a B2C and B2B perspective. One question asked was how to hone in on a segment for user research. In this case, the best way is to focus on the team goal and then segment users based on existing data that you have available. Another question asked how to balance the customer experience and business targets as a product manager. If the business model isn’t good then there will be no customers at all. It also depends on the time horizon goals. In the short term, the needs of the business may trump the long term needs of the customer. However, the key, in this case, is to focus on user retention if you want to solve both problems at once.