Aurelius Product Updates – March 2019
We’ve been working hard on several updates to Aurelius!
Our customers and trial users give us tons of feedback and we use all of it to directly inform our product roadmap and what we eventually launch. This is something we take a lot of pride in since we are a user research tool, built by UX and research folks, for UX and design research teams.
Additionally, we found that other people like us just plain find it interesting to hear about what we build and what led us to making those decisions.
In this post we’ll outline some of what we learned and what we built and launched in response to those research insights from our very own audience.
Sharing and Organizing User Research Findings and Data
A little while ago, we launched a huge feature for Aurelius, Collections.
Collections allow you to create a custom group of Key Insights from multiple projects across Aurelius. The primary problem Collections help you solve were to quickly answer the question “What do we know about…” or “Do we have any research on…”.
You could simply do a search across all of your research projects, using our Universal Search or go right to a specific project and its Key Insights. Then you could choose individual Key Insights that you wanted to add to your Collection and you’ve created a nice little research report or group of themed findings in moments.
What we learned:
While Collections was awesome, it didn’t go quite far enough. Many of our customers began making Collections to group themes of Key Insights from across multiple research projects and that was helpful, but then came the next step of getting that in the hands of people who want to act on it.
As of the time of this post, every Aurelius plan is unlimited users, but you don’t always want to invite a product owner or stakeholder into the tool. Also, they probably don’t want to sign in to yet another tool just to view the research insights you want them to see.
We learned that having a place to create custom groups of findings was super helpful but didn’t go far enough. Eventually the real goal is not only to quickly gather Key Insights, nuggets or findings in one spot, but also get them in the hands of people to make better decisions from!
What we did about it:
Tagging a Collection
We made two decisions about Collections that really addressed what we learned. First, we launched the ability to add tags to a Collection. Now when adding a tag to a Collection, that Collection is not only findable by that tag but more importantly, it automatically adds every single note, document and Key Insight with that tag from ALL of your projects, right to that Collection.
Folks using Collections expected this to happen out of the box and it’s not something we initially built. After learning about those expectations, it made a lot of sense for us to build that capability for you be able to automate and scale what you’re sharing all in one place. With the new tagging Collections feature, you can easily create a new tag for a topic, theme or question; add it to the Collection and as you conduct new research simply add that tag and keep everything in one organized spot for you or others to review.
This is huge. As I said, we learned that having a place to search and organize all your user research is super important, but sharing those research findings and data is absolutely critical. In response to that, we launched the ability to share a Collection to anyone outside of Aurelius.
It was vital for us to launch the ability to share a Collection and not require those people to have an Aurelius account. Now, you can create a group of Key Insights and research data (by adding tags and attaching all the data you have with that tag) and share it with someone by email.
Once you share the Collection, they get an email notification and have access to a read-only version of your Collection that will stay up to date with any changes or additions you make!
Sharing by email was also an important “micro-decision” we made regarding this feature. In addition to learning that sharing research is just as important as properly organizing it, we found that meeting people where they are is crucial for adoption.
In short, everyone in our line of work uses email to communicate. Now, you can share all of your user research data and findings right to someone’s email and save tons of time and effort.
Providing Deeper Context to Research Data
We’ve had Key Insights as part of Aurelius since it’s initial launch. Key Insights are not only the most important outcome of doing great user research in general, it’s also the most powerful feature in Aurelius.
Key Insights in Aurelius are made up of three parts:
- A statement of what you learned (the insight itself)
- Supporting notes and/or documents
- Tags to describe that insight and enable you to find it by topic or theme later
What we learned:
Key Insights are the foundation of everything researchers are doing in Aurelius. As the number of data and insights grows over time, you start to lose a bit of context as to why you made those Key Insights without having to review the project itself.
Often times, people conducting and sharing the research want the ability to “describe” that Key Insight with more detail as to why they created that nugget or finding, as well as what it means in greater detail so that someone reading your findings can truly understand the Key Insight, why it’s important and what it means in full context.
What we did about it:
Key Insight Descriptions
This was a pretty obvious win for our product and our customers. Key Insights already existed and are heavily used, for good reason. So, we added the ability to also write a description for the Key Insight, along with the supporting notes, documents and tags for the Key Insight. It’s a simple but effective free form text area that adds a layer of rich context for when you or others revisit Key Insights.
Links as Documents
Here was another obvious win for everyone. You always had the ability to upload a file to a project with no restrictions on file type or file size. Most people would upload research photos, audio transcripts and even usability testing videos and tag them (as well as attach them to key insights).
This worked quite well, but it can be time consuming when importing past research into Aurelius as a new customer.
So, we added the ability to simply add a link as a document, which you can tag and add to Key Insights just like any other document on your project in Aurelius.
Visualizations Are Cool Accelerators
We’ve had some simple but effective visualizations for certain sets of data in Aurelius for some time now. In particular our project overview page and the project tags pages are the most popular. To the point, visualizing lots of data helps give you a quick view to where you may want to focus or drill into in greater detail.
What we learned:
Our Universal Search allows you to find any note, document, Key Insight or Collection by keywords, tags or both. When we initially launched our Universal Search, we learned that people couldn’t always tell when the results changed based on entering a new keyword or tag. At that time, we added a nice little stacked bar chart that animated in and even had a hover state that gives you a summary of the results in your search.
We learned that our project keyword search had a similar opportunity to improve its usability.
What we did about it:
Project Keyword Search Visual Indicator
We added that same stacked bar chart to animate in with the summary hover state to our project keyword search! Pretty simple, but again, often the best solutions are 🙂
That’s a wrap for now. We hope you enjoyed getting a more in depth look at what we’re learning about how UX and design researchers are doing their work and more importantly, exactly how we’re working very hard to support that through our user research and insights tool, Aurelius.
Have something to add? Leave a comment below or reach out to us directly, we’d love to hear from you.
If you’re interested in checking out some of these features for yourself, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial of Aurelius and see for yourself!