What’s the goal of user research?
Hillary: “What’s the point of a map? It gives you information and a point of view that you couldn’t access otherwise. Imagine waking up with no knowledge of what city you’re in. You walk east to find a Tim Hortons because that’s where you normally eat breakfast and that’s where it is relative to your house in your home city. Plot twist: there is no Tim Hortons in this city. That’s what deciding on a product direction based only on your own limited experience is like. A user researcher gives you a map of the city so you can see beyond your own point of view (your own user experiences). They also point out important landmarks that you probably want to visit (user needs), and give you a legend to explain all the squiggly lines and symbols (user behaviours).”
How do you explain what you do?
Mithula: “Government works for the Canadian people and I talk to Canadians. I talk to them to find out what’s not going well, what they need, and what could be better. I’m a bridge for people back to government.”
Eman: “Before creating something, whatever it is, you need to go straight to the people who will be using the service or product. I get their thoughts, feelings, perspectives, and what they would like to see happen most. Whether that’s an improvement, a whole redesign, or a new feature; I’ll never know unless I ask them.”
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Mithula: “The favourite part of my job is connecting users’ needs to how public servants actually deliver a service. Public servants are amazing people, they’re very mission-driven to make Canada better. To get them closer to the people that actually use the services that they’re designing, and to be that bridge, it’s very gratifying. I’m very humbled by the role, just to be that bridge, like a fly on the wall, or a messenger more than anything else”
Thank you, ladies, for your time and help! You can follow Eman, Mithula, and Hillary on Twitter!
Next month’s newsletter will put a spotlight on product management. Have a question for the team? Submit your question on Twitter or by email!