Plan ahead with user research

I code stuff, I draw stuff.

You can’t expect a product to be successful unless it solves a problem, big or small. How do you define that problem when you’re working on internal projects? In this blog post, we'll talk about how basic user research helped us to understand the pain points of our potential users and how this made our roadmap planning much easier.

At Novoda, we have lots of internal presentations. The subject of these can vary greatly, from coding to design or agile processes, and sometimes even random topics like coffee or dragons. We record these talks so that anyone can watch them later. Some problems arose, as we didn’t have any specific guidelines for recording or keeping track of the talks, so people didn’t know how to watch previous ones or record and upload their own. This inspired us to create NovodaTV.

The NovodaTV logo

What we did

First of all, you need to make sure that the problem actually needs solving.

It wouldn't make sense to build something that, by definition, brings zero value to its users, right?

We also wanted to make sure we were building something that people across the entire company would enjoy using.

Customer survey

The first thing we did was send out a quick three-question anonymous survey to the whole company to gauge opinions:

The results of this survey would not only give us insights into users’ pain points but also ensure that we prioritise features based on what will provide the greatest value.

Over 70% of Novoda employees responded, highlighting several pain points and providing valuable suggestions that we would not otherwise have considered adding to our roadmap.

Stakeholder interview

In addition to the survey, we held a semi-structured interview with our content manager of the Novoda videos to help us understand what the pain points are around distributing the videos. The interview was really helpful as it gave us insights into how painful the current process was for them. It’s important to hear users’ firsthand experiences in order to fully understand the barriers that are preventing them from achieving their goals.

Personas

After collecting and analysing these findings, we were able to create our very first user personas. 💯

Personas

We also had a good sense of the user stories, making planning easier and more streamlined. This helped us identify the priority features that would deliver the greatest value with the least amount of development time.

The more knowledge you gather on your users, the more you can refine your personas over time to reflect that. Your users evolve with your product, so it’s important that your personas do the same.


If you are interested in user experience (UX) or user research make sure to check out Leonie's 5 steps of better product design series. It contains a lots of useful information and handy tips to help you create great experiences for your users.

About Novoda

We plan, design, and develop the world’s most desirable software products. Our team’s expertise helps brands like Sony, Motorola, Tesco, Channel4, BBC, and News Corp build fully customized Android devices or simply make their mobile experiences the best on the market. Since 2008, our full in-house teams work from London, Liverpool, Berlin, Barcelona, and NYC.

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