Listening to users: Changing our digital product development process

Design, develop and build, then test. That is the process we used to follow in designing and developing our products at Snap Out. We desired to gain new knowledge and transform our thinking around the needs of users, allowing us to create better.

Snap Out won funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK’s Design Foundations Competition Round 2. The funding allowed us the opportunity to work alongside FutureGov, a leading service design agency. Together, we changed our internal processes for product development. Shifting to a human-centred approach, we now ensure that we are listening to user needs at the start, not at the end.

Snap Out, a digital product consultancy, won Innovate UK funding to change organisational processes. Working with user research specialists at FutureGov, the team applied design thinking to the product development process.

FutureGov, a change agency, worked with Snap Out through a ‘Discovery’ process. Together through discovery, we explored user needs in detail, to develop Snap Out’s new product, Emma.ai. Interested in how ‘Busy Professionals’ organise their time using digital calendars, Snap Out and FutureGov involved small business founders, consultants and business development professionals to gather practical research. We also spoke to Personal Assistants to learn how people organise and manage digital calendars for others.

Together, we gathered information and uncovered interesting findings. We found that the administration required to coordinate travel and meetings takes a lot of time, and a lot of indirect cost. One ‘Busy Professionals’ said: “It is a bit of a dance to get a date in the calendar.

The Impact of the Discovery Phase on Snap Out

The discovery phase, when we began to better understand user needs, had two major influences on Snap Out. First, we began to recognise the importance of user research in product development. Before, our technical team hadn’t been part of the user research process. Thus, they weren’t supported to implement user-led decision-making. Bringing the technical team along on the journey helped change the perception of having user research. Together, we can now make informed, data-driven and user-led decisions.

With this in mind, the second change was to Snap Out’s organisational processes and future project design. We viewed user research as an important part of the design phase. Working with FutureGov up-skilled our team at Snap Out to use these methods for future product development.

 

Aaron Mason, CEO and Founder of Snap Out said:
User research was new to Snap Out. We hadn’t realised the potential and importance of talking to users to understand the their problems and needs before designing and developing a digital product. Through working with FutureGov, we saw the need to find out what the users’ problem is, ideate based on these insights and then develop the product from there.

 

Jenny Thai, User Experience Designer at FutureGov:
Working together and collaborating as a team with Snap Out really made a difference to the project. It was great to bring them along the journey of doing user research and having a positive impact on their approach.

Snap Out is currently developing Emma.ai and adding new features based on user needs. If you’d like to be an early user, please sign up for Beta. To find out more visit the Emma.ai website.