Tools to express research as "living" digital artifacts?

personas
research

#1

Greetings,

I’ve recently joined a new team and the project I’m picking up has languished because of a lag between the research being done with subject matter experts and users and our ability to generate paper artifacts for our designers to use.

Currently we’re doing an import from Excel into InDesign, which works fine in general but has some problems of scale and versioning.

We’re searching for a way to not only keep track of the user research we’re doing based on roles, behaviors, and archetypes but also for a way to present the research findings digitally in a way that will allow our different internal audiences (e.g. product designers, customer service team members, sales team members) to access the information in ways that are tailored for their needs.

Does anyone have any experience with this or any recommendations for software that might push us in the right direction?

Thanks,
Anne


#2

Hey Anne,
Sounds challenging! I’m going to call in the experts here. Pinging all @UX_Researchers


#3

Hi @anne_dougherty, I’ve used both wikis and Wordpress for this. It’s not beautiful, but just using text and photos you can get the information across. Then you can use the tags from the system to group things.
For example, we had a User Research Wiki and each persona had its own section. Every time we did a new interview we added the notes and synthesis to the relevant pages.

Hope that helps!

Best,
Julia


#4

Hi @anne_dougherty

I don’t have any experience personally but this reminded me of a Medium Post called “Democratizing UX” I read a while back about a homegrown tool called Polaris at We Work. It’s not publicly available but there’s mention of other tools in the comments.

Good luck and congrats on the new role!
Crystal


#5

We are currently having a gallery of Personas and our illustrator has illustrated them - in Confluence (wiki) and updates it based on our latest research and mapping of a product portfolio. also, we keep track of our research with a “report directory” linking to specific confluence pages. Not sure if I answer your question?


#6

Does anyone have any experience with this or any recommendations for software that might push us in the right direction?

I have experience with this pain point but have not yet conquered it myself. I can’t recommend any specific software for the reasons you allude to, i.e. tailoring access to different information needs based on roles. It’s hard to find one that serves them all.

In the U.S. at least Sharepoint is still a constant across large enterprise work groups. (I think it has more to do with workflow inertia than adoption due the pleasure of using it, but that’s beside the point.) As such, my personal criteria for the solution you’re aiming at would include: “Can this be deployed to and accessed from Sharepoint easily?” It doesn’t mean I like or endorse Sharepoint, but it’s where a lot of the digital work traffic still happens, and so long as I am constrained to that I work with it and meet it where it’s at.

There is probably some analog for smaller companies that can use more lightweight tools, whether it’s a Basecamp site or Wiki for research as others have mentioned. Rather than adding something, integrate with what they already traffic if possible.

And of course if you just apply user-centered principles to this problem of “how do we present research to different audiences in a way that is tailored to their needs?” you might find the answer is more of an approach than a specific tool or solution.

An example I take inspiration from is Steve Portigal’s podcast interview with Gregg Bernstein, specifically the topic of telling the same “research stories” multiple ways and making that itself more of a competency:

GB: “One thing we try to do is…make everyone a researcher…”

…and he goes on to describe an Evernote for business account they used at Mailchimp which allows anyone to browse research artifacts in their own way on their time.

I think the same episode also references a urinal poster artifact, like a research 1-pager. Might be a different episode but even if it’s an extreme example, it really illustrates the point about meeting the workflow and people where they’re at.

Good luck!


#7

Hi Julia,

Sounds interesting. Thank you for the suggestion. It’s definitely worth investigating.

Best,
Anne


#8

Hi @crystal_sundara,

Ooooo…thank you for the link! I’m going to post this to my team’s Slack just for a good general read.

Best,
Anne


#9

Hi @marion_boberg,

Thanks for this. We used Confluence at my last workplace (pre acquisition) and that may be an option here.

Best,
Anne


#10

Hi @StudyOfPeople,

Sharepoint is definitely an option for us in terms of technological adoption. We’re avoiding it as a go-to solution for a variety of reasons (the aforementioned pleasure of usage and maintenance as well as control over deployment which rests entirely with our corporate IT department).

I will check out the podcast. Thank you for the suggestions.

Best,
Anne


#11

I just read the article about Polaris and it reminded me of this, which sounds like a similar tool: https://www.insightbank.io/


#12

Thanks, Lorna!


#13

@anne_dougherty,

I just started experimenting with Airtable. It might be an option to look into.

Best,
Julia


#14

Thanks @jdebari !

And may I just say: The community here is amazing.