August 24, 2023

How to Overcome the Research Bottleneck & Reclaim Research Time

Demand for research insights continues to outpace the capacity of most research teams. How do successful product teams clear a path to progress?

Product Design

In product design, the riskiest move you can take is not investing in user research. Dr. Susan Weinschenk, an industry leader whose work lies at the intersection of behavioral psychology and design, elegantly illustrates the ROI of User Experience.

To summarize:

  • The time spent by developers reworking a project with avoidable faults is 50%.
  • The cost of fixing an error after development is 100X that of fixing it before development.
  • 3 out of the 12 reasons projects fail are attributed to user experience failures.

Companies are getting hip to the impact of user research. In the tech sector alone, use of user research methods has grown by a third; according to a study in the Journal of Usability Studies. Among software development teams, the proportion utilizing these methods grew from 36% to 64% in the past five years.

Despite consensus on the value of user research, insights derived from this work often fall into organizational silos. User researchers get tied up in in-depth analysis, and findings don’t get shared in time to be truly strategic.

As a result, decisions are made without fully understanding the user or how to speak to them through technical design or marketing. Misalignment creeps in, and seemingly inexorable dynamics emerge between well-intentioned teammates who fundamentally misunderstand the user, each other, and the goal.

All of this slows progress for your team and for your users. Why does this happen?

Processing Insights

Organizations are continuing to grow their recognition of the value of user research- an exciting and inevitable result of impactful work. However, the demand for research insights continues to outpace the capacity of most research teams.

It’s pretty rare to have a dedicated research team. More commonly, researchers and their expertise are shared across several teams. While this distributed model can help spread the wealth of research impacts across organizations, it also creates a low limit on the amount of insight researchers alone can pull from qualitative work.

Taking one look at the way product teams have scaled in recent years illustrates the source of the research bottleneck. In small organizations, User Experience Researchers (UXRs) are often distributed across 1.5 teams- and this number grows as companies scale. Other industry research notes a ratio of one UXR to two designers to 10 developers.

Industry ratios of researchers to designers and developers per team

Figures for the ratio of researchers to designers and developers (1:2:10)

AI Solutions

How might organizations alleviate the issue?

Qualitative analysis takes time. Thematic analysis is a multi-step process that requires diligent coding. What if researchers didn’t have to invest so much of their time in this part of the work?

CoNote is a powerful research tool that sweeps through your qualitative data to help surface important themes quickly.

Ranked analysis helps researchers tackle ideas with the most weight, and in-app story building allows researchers to convey ideas in the voice of the user.

Freeing up the time of researchers and the teams that rely on their work to do… well, anything.

What will you do with all of your extra time?

  1. Check off work task #987
  2. Build better prototypes
  3. Go on a walk
  4. Achieve world domination

Sign up for free now, or get in touch for a product demo.

How to Overcome the Research Bottleneck & Reclaim Research Time

Carol Bernate

Product Manager & Lead Researcher at CoNote