New Product Managers: How a Simple UX Project is a Great Way to Get Started

Congratulations; you are a new product manager! Product managers need to pick the brains of existing users and potential users of products. They need to understand the different personas of users. They need to understand pain points of using the product and looking at the product. They need to have users that they can ask clarifying questions over the course of a year. If a new product manager does a simple UX project (like this one), she will have all those things early.

 

Recruiting

Recruit 5 expert users of the product. Recruit 5 users familiar with the product. Recruit 5 potential users of the product.

 

Questions

Have the participants answer a few questions about themselves and then have them complete about 10 common tasks using the product. Ask their name, age, and any other relevant demographical data. Ask their experience level: (a) I’ve never used it and never seen it, (b) I’ve never used it, but I’ve seen it, (c) I’ve used it once or twice, or (d) I’ve used it weekly or more often. Have them briefly take a look at the product. What do they think it is there to do?

 

Tasks

Start using a screen capture tool. I’ve used Screenr and CamStudio, and both are acceptable. Screenr is better. If data security is a concern, be careful with what you’re recording and where you’re storing it. Ask them to perform ten tasks. This should not take them more than 30 minutes.

 

More questions

Ask them, on a scale of one to ten, how easy it is to use a product. Ask them how the product could be improved.

 

Conclusions

The most difficult parts of the project will be fine-tuning the script and recruiting the users. Both of these activities are very valuable to a new product manager. By watching the recordings, figure out how long it took them to perform tasks. Look for patterns in the problems the participants experienced. Look at the quotes from participants and use them. Lastly, write a short paper with recommendations on UX improvements and translate the recommendations into business requirements and functional stories.

 

For more information on product management and UX, read the Product Guy Daily. I publish it every morning.

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