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Defining our user research standards

Adam Spencer

We’ve recently published some guiding principles to Lagom’s user research process.

As a Service Standard aligned business, we already subscribe to a set of principles.

However, we wanted to identify the distinct qualities that define Lagom’s user research, and how these are baked into our approach and ways of working.

We started by asking each member of the team to suggest what they felt the value of Lagom’s user research was – for clients, for service users and for ourselves.

After some deliberation involving a Miro board and countless dot voting, we sifted through our individual submissions and distilled these down to a set of overarching principles. 

We finished with seven in total:

01: Find the needs of actual users, then validate them
02: Understand the whole user journey
03: Advocate for the user throughout
04: Choose the right methods, and adapt them to the task
05: Plug user research into the wider team
06: Do user research to be acted on
07: Be Lagom: do just the right amount of user research

We each had a favourite, and here’s what we had to say about them.

Stephen said this about finding the needs of actual users (01):

“As someone who spends a lot of time asking stakeholders for their opinions, I’m very glad our research is actually rooted in the actual users of the actual things I’m hearing opinions about.”

Both Helen and John championed why choosing the right methods (04) is fundamental in our process.

“We find the right ones based on the specific needs of the projects to get to the bottom of the user needs.

“I think the thought we put into this when writing proposals is probably something that sets us apart from others and sets us up to deliver everything else at a high quality.”

Charlotte highlighted the importance of ensuring a wider service team’s involvement in user research (05).

“This is a key part of helping the wider team to understand our findings and where they have come from, and it helps to illustrate the value of our research.”

And Liam discussed the need for our user research to be acted on (06) so that it can make a positive, meaningful impact. 

“It can be easy to do research that doesn’t go anywhere and make real world difference.”

It was hard to choose a favourite, but because I was the one tasked with writing this blog – I rebelled and picked two. 

For me, it’s essential to meet people in their own context (02). You develop a stronger understanding of their needs and behaviours by better understanding their whole story.

And then by having this knowledge, it ensures that you always advocate for the user, challenge assumptions and ensure a user-centred approach throughout (03).

It amused me how no one picked 07: Be Lagom, but that must say something about how well embedded it is within our process and second-nature for us to not think about it!

So that’s a little bit of insight into our seven standards and why we picked them. I wonder if we’ll think of an eighth at some point soon?


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