Summary

Using evidence from your research to make user-centred design decisions.


User research activities will generate a lot of data. This only becomes valuable when it’s organised and interpreted in context of the design.

What an insight is

An insight is a statement of something you’ve learned about your users’ behaviours, motivations or life experiences. Insights help you decide what you should do next.

The data gathered through user research – even if it’s something you’ve directly observed – is not an insight in itself.

Useful insights come from viewing a problem from multiple perspectives and by doing thorough analysis of different data sources to interpret meaning. The process of translating data into concise findings is called sensemaking.

Types of data that can inform insights

The following types of data can inform insights and are examples of looking at data from different perspectives.

Find more information about how to help teams learn about users.

What people have told you

This could be information like feedback, interviews, focus groups or complaints records.

What you’ve observed

You may have seen examples in observations, market research or service usage data.

Organisational and policy goals

There may be useful insights embedded within an organisational strategy, legislation or legal documents.

How to develop actionable insight

Some key questions will help you shape your plans. These questions are the starting point for planning user research that will inform the design of services, digital products, content and policy.

What you need to find out

Develop research questions in collaboration with the team you’re working with. Challenge your own assumptions by testing them widely with stakeholders and users if appropriate. Your research questions will start broad in the early stages of design, but they’ll evolve as you learn.

Read more about planning user research.

Who you should involve

Find out who your users are and who can help you answer the most important research questions. Look beyond the most obvious or largest proportional groups to find potential ‘could be’ users.

Read more about identifying and finding users.

How you’ll produce evidence

Decide on the most appropriate research activity that will help you explore the questions you’ve identified. Do you need to speak to people individually, in a group, or observe their behaviour? Think about what evidence you’ll produce by doing this research. Plan time for collaborative sensemaking to make your research usable and relevant.

Using evidence to make decisions

Decide early on how you’ll document and share the outputs of the research activity. Who needs to see it and what formats will help them understand the findings? Share what you’ve learned widely for more impact.

Read more about communicating findings