Research session with power users


#1

Hi guys, I’m after some ideas please!

I’ve just started my new job at a tech startup. The product I’m UXing is a SaaS tool (It’s an online web crawler). Now, next week we will be speaking to a number of experts who are major players in the field and also strong advocates for the tool.

My question. Of course we should find out the user goals and pain points. But on top of this, if you had access to a number of power users of your product, I’m keen to understand from the forum, what other kind of questions would you ask or what kind of things would you want to know/understand from them?

Any alternative angles appreciated, thanks!


#2

My first thought is that the term “power user” implies a persona, but isn’t actually one and in and of itself. It comes with some connotations of a deep understanding and usage of a product, but doesn’t define their goals.

I’m not sure I can answer your specific question, but to help you refine your thinking I might spend some time getting an idea of the different personas of power users as defined by their goals when using your product, rather than their usage. This will likely help you understand more of the “why” behind their use, and help you form better questions about what they expect in terms of product direction and wants.


#3

Hi Doug, thanks for the reply. Power user just means an expert user who uses the tool a lot. I will definitely look to understand their goals and pain points with the product in more detail, but I guess it was more of a generic question open to the forum. If you had to interview several expert users of your product, what else would you ask them and what exercises would you potentially run?

One idea I was thinking of was getting insights on their usage with our competitors, and why they use them over our tool. And conversely why they chose our tool over our competitors.

Was interested to see if anyone had any other angles to go in at?


#4

Yes, thank you. I understand what a power user is.

To make my point perfectly clear, not knowing your users, their goals, or your product, we can’t make any useful suggestions. The term “power user” isn’t sufficient, nor is it particularly useful, unless the majority of users and business comes from power users (which is almost never the case.) This is the genesis of my suggestion to understand to your users and their goals to help shape your questions.


#5

Power user implies a different kind of user with different needs from your normal user. You would go out and research how these folks use the tool and what their specific needs are, and as someone earlier said, build personas and user journeys and maybe an expert version of the system.


#6

I did this exact same thing just recently; I started by looking at usage stats comparing differences between the pages accessed by power users and other users. I found it useful to watch mouse tracking videos to try to spot pain points in advance of talking to people. I also got a good idea of what plans the company had in mind so I could direct my questions to certain areas of interest.

I found the users where quite good at steering the conversation to include any particular aspects they had an interest in.

I just got back from presenting my findings to the CSO and CEO about 10 minutes ago.

For me, power user wasn’t a persona but perhaps a segment that could be applied to any of the personas we are working with. Though the pages they are interested in are a bit different, the main difference for me has been that they have learnt how to use the system so can use that rather than recognition.