Most companies know the importance of UX research in building sustainable and user-friendly products that meet the needs of their audience.
However, conducting the research is one-half of the equation. Presenting UX research in a way that compels stakeholders to take action is the second half.
Without adequate reporting, research is just a pile of data. Reporting, by way of presentation, makes your data actionable. By adopting effective UX presentation techniques such as storytelling, visualization, and slides, you ensure that your research influences the development process instead of ending up in storage without being used.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- What is a UX research presentation
- Why UX presentations are important
- The challenges of presenting UX research
- 9 Tips to Improve Your Research Presentations
What Is UX Research Presentation?
A UX research presentation is sharing insights from your user research findings with stakeholders. You make recommendations for product improvement and capture decisions from research methodologies and testing phases.
UX research presentations require you to condense your research notes, insights, and recommendations into 8-10 captivating slides that justify the research and compel stakeholders to take action. Sharing your research findings can help the design and product teams to:
- Make design decision
- Refine existing user needs
- Prioritize their workflow
- Develop a product roadmap based on your recommendations
- Write new user stories
- Improve usability of your product
Why Is UX Presentation Important?
Make Sense of Your Research Findings
Research presentations are an opportunity to share your findings in an easy way for stakeholders to understand. A good presentation fulfills the following:
- Describes the goal of the research and gives context about what happened during the UX research process. For example, you may have made some assumptions about your target audience, encountered bias, or failed to include a user group during the planning phase
- Explain the why behind each research outcome that rationalizes why research participants liked or didn’t like a feature of your product
- Inform decision making for the product team to help them prioritize resources during development
Quickly Relay Findings
Sharing research findings ensures that nothing slips through the cracks and decisions are relayed quickly with the team. In this scenario, a presentation is not a 60-page document. Instead, it’s a UX research nugget made up of high-priority action items that require immediate attention.
Capture Insights and Make Informed Recommendations
The most essential element of a good UX presentation is sharing the right insights and making recommendations that lead to a successful product launch. Research repository tools like Aurelius allow you to analyze large batches of raw research data faster. This way, it’s easy to draw insight and make recommendations that lead to product success.
Document Your Process for Future Use
You can document processes that didn’t work as insights and explain the why behind methods that worked. It ensures that you don’t repeat the mistake in the future. In addition, your team can use your presentation as a reference to make smarter design decisions and as a background for product update research.
Improve Your UX Research Process
You can’t move forward if you don’t learn from the past. A UX research presentation is an opportunity for the product team and stakeholders to reflect on the decisions made during the product development. It’s hindsight that ensures designers will avoid patterns that underperform or overperform in testing.
What Are the Challenges of Presenting UX Research?
Lack of Trust in Qualitative Data
This mostly happens with stakeholders who have a background in data science. They do not trust results from qualitative research because they say that findings are not statistically significant and do not hold any value. For example, you’ve interviewed 20 people as part of your research, but your audience is squirming because they think that’s a small sample size.
One way to get past this constraint is to be upfront about limitations in your UX research. Skeptics are more likely to trust you when you admit to the shortcomings of qualitative research.
Another way is to explain that qualitative research may not be statistically significant, but it is often statistically representative of your larger audience.
Keeping Bias Out of the Results
It’s not enough to be aware of your bias as a researcher. It’s also important not to fuel bias among your audience.
Be careful how you draw insights from research. Share the research findings, tell the audience what the study doesn’t show, and advise how to use the results to make changes.
Remind your audience that the objective of UX research is to collect information, not create absolute truth. So, you form a hypothesis and try to prove it, but it’s not perfect as some may wrongly assume.
Properly Conveying the Participant’s Perspective to Stakeholders
Empathy is a huge part of conducting research. It’s understanding the frustrations and emotions of research participants and conveying these unique viewpoints in a way that your audience understands.
Using visuals such as video or audio recordings during your presentation is a great way to communicate emotion in a genuine and unfiltered way.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for UX researchers is turning research insight into action. You’ve collected feedback through multiple UX research methods, made recommendations, and given an excellent presentation. But it’s all meaningless if stakeholders don’t take action.
Apart from the reasons we’ve mentioned above, such as distrust in research data and lack of understanding, scientists found that personal trust between audience and researcher plays a role in convincing stakeholders to take action.
Trust-building is a crucial skill for every researcher. It’s easier to drive action when you have a relationship with stakeholders.
How to Create Better UX Research Presentations
1. Know Your Audience
You’re better able to capture and retain audience attention when you speak directly to their interests. One of the biggest mistakes first-time researchers make when presenting research is not reading the room and just going through your slides. It’s impossible to make an emotional connection with an audience you don’t know.
When you know your audience, you can tell a story that immediately connects you to your audience and sets the tone for the rest of your presentation. You can also tailor your deliverables and recommendations to the interest and needs of your audience.
For example, if you’re speaking to C-level executives, you’ll discuss how the research findings could increase conversion rate, revenue, and customer retention. For the product team, you’d focus on how research could improve user experience and remove obstacles that customers previously faced.
2. Opt for Quick Findings Over Detailed Reports
One of the debates for teams when presenting UX research is choosing whether to share a full report or quick findings.
A detailed report is long-form. It gives you the freedom and space to describe your findings in detail and make comprehensive recommendations. It usually ends up being 30-40 pages long.
In reality, a CEO or C-suite executive on the move won’t have time to sit through a 30-slide presentation. Instead, they want something quick, efficient, and concise. You can achieve this goal through UX research nuggets.
Making your research presentation efficient forces you to eliminate fluff and stick to the most essential information to help stakeholders take action.
Include the original goal of the research and 4-6 key insights. Then, attach recommendations and next steps to key insights.
3. Embrace Storytelling
Stories are the fastest way to connect with a cold audience. According to researcher Paul Zak, stories cause the brain to produce oxytocin, a feel-good chemical related to empathy and a desire to cooperate.
In another research, Princeton University Neuroscientist Uri Hasson researched the effect of storytelling on the brain. He found that listeners’ brain activity synced on a deep level with the storyteller’s brain activity when telling a story. Intentional stories that have a tie-in with the research topic move the audience to take action.
A few tips to guide you when using storytelling during presentations include:
- Tell a story your audience can relate to
- Use details to transport the reader to the scene so they can experience it
- Make it personal
- Ensure the story relates to the research topic
4. Use an Inverted Pyramid
With the inverted pyramid, your most important information sits at the top. The first section of your presentation contains:
- What is the problem I want to solve?
- Who am I speaking to? (teammates, manager, decision-makers, engineers)
- Why am I speaking? (What is the desired action you want the audience to take)
Use a high-level overview slide to cover the first section. Your audience is more likely to sit through your entire presentation if they understand the value at a glance.
The second section is the body covering the argument, controversy, evidence, and supporting visuals. The final part is the tail that summarizes the presentation and includes any additional information.
5. Simplify Data with Visualization
Vision is our primary sense for understanding the world around us. The human brain processes and retains visuals faster than text. Your presentation should have more visuals than text. Always remember the golden rule – show, not tell.
Large blocks of text are boring. Visual aids such as infographics, videos, screenshots, gifs, and charts break up text and engage your audience. Where text can quickly become complicated, visuals clarify information and make information easier to digest and remember.
A few visualization tips to remember:
- Use consistent fonts, colors, and icons when designing your presentation
- Use graphs and charts to present data
- Do not add multiple graphics in one slide. One message per visual
- Use the right graph type to communicate clearly
- Edit ruthlessly
- Use muted colors
6. Keep it Short
The human mind can only store 3-4 things at once. So, focus your research outcomes on three to four key insights and recommendations you want your audience to take away.
Keep your presentation within 20 minutes. I know it’s hard, but you shouldn’t share everything you learned in the study during the presentation, or you’ll overwhelm your audience.
Share high-level information during the presentation and send the research report as a PDF or email so everyone can look further into the research. In addition, you can use Aurelius to share a live link of an automatically generated report with your audience.
7. Use Slides During Presentations
Split your slides presentation into three sections:
- What we did – discuss your research process
- The finding slides – Key Insight slides
- What to do next – Recommendation slides
Each slide should have a heading that summarizes an important finding and explains the impact with visuals. Use quotes taken from research participants to support key insight.
When using video clips, you don’t have to share the entire recording. Instead, trim it down to the key scenes or combine several sequences about the same key insight into a 30 seconds reel.
Ensure you’re using images taken during the research process (ethnography, observation, usability testing sessions) to show participants in action with the product. Again, it’s more likely to elicit an emotional response than using generic images.
Focus each key insight slide on the user. It should distill their personality, behavior, needs, use of your product, and what happened during user testing. Then, prioritize the most critical information into five slides.
8. Give Recommendations and Next Steps
Your UX research presentation should include recommendations based on key research insight. For every problem, have a recommendation. Then, tell your audience how the research should be incorporated in design or product updates.
Also, don’t forget to demonstrate the value of your research. Show your audience how the recommendations will support your company’s goals and impact the product roadmap.
9. Ask Listeners to Save Questions Until After the Presentation
You can either allow your audience to ask questions during or after the presentation. Asking questions during the presentation will enable you to clear any confusion on the spot and carry everyone along.
However, it’s distracting each time you’re interrupted during the presentation. You’ll also risk losing the audience if the question isn’t relevant to the specific section you’re talking about.
The second approach is better. You ask your audience to save questions until the end of the presentation. This method ensures that you maintain a great flow throughout the presentation and answer all questions at once.
10. Share Your Research
Your UX presentation only contains high-level recommendations you want your audience to implement. However, you still have great insight that provides context, and you couldn’t share those during the presentation due to time constraints.
You can create a more enriched report in Aurelius and share it with key stakeholders after the presentation to make it stick.
However, sending emails, PDFs, or a link isn’t enough. People are busy. Emails get buried, and attention span is low.
If you want your research to be implemented, send follow-up emails and reach out personally to the executives. Share the report in your company’s internal knowledge base with a relevant title and tags, so it’s easy to find.
If you have a departmental or company Slack, share it there, so they see the presentation in multiple places. In addition, you can integrate Slack and Jira with Aurelius to share your findings with other teams.
Focus on Showing Value That Stakeholders Want to See
Congratulations! You’ve created a value-driven UX research presentation. But it’s not ready yet. Read through your slides again. Does your presentation reflect the goals you promised stakeholders when you set out on the research journey? Have you demonstrated value in a way that even non-UX audience members would understand?
These are questions to answer as you wrap up your UX presentation slides. Be ruthless when trimming the fat from your presentation. Just because your discovery is exciting to you doesn’t necessarily mean it’s valuable to stakeholders.
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