How to Create UX Research Nuggets like Polaris from WeWork

Post on July 31st 2018 by Zack Naylor, CEO, Co-founder

Doing user research and collecting customer feedback lands you with a whole lot of data. In fact it can be pretty tough for even the most senior designers, researchers and product managers to sort through it all...so imagine how hard it would be for stakeholders and other team members to figure out what we learned. Enter the “research nugget”.


What is a UX Research Nugget?

A research “nugget” is another common name for a ux research insight or finding. The term was popularized by Tomer Sharon in his wonderful articles about user research and Polaris (the research tool he developed and used during his time at WeWork). He's also currently working on a new and improved nugget system in his new role at Goldman Sachs.

By Tomer’s definition, a research nugget is:

“A nugget is a tagged observation supported by evidence.”

In short, a research nugget is something you learned from user research or customer feedback with supporting evidence to why someone should believe it’s true. This evidence also gives the reader of that nugget confidence and context for how to act on that finding.


Why You Should Create Research Nuggets or Key Insights

There’s a few reasons you should be creating “nuggets” or key insights. First and obvious is that you need to share what you learned from user research in a consumable friendly way. As our friend and podcast guest Lindsey Redinger said in her episode:

“Research that isn’t shared is research that hasn’t been done”

Creating research nuggets and key insights also helps you better organize your findings in both the short and long term. This creates the framework for a user research repository for your team and company.

Do not share raw research notes and data alone. Doing so presents potential privacy issues and will be overwhelming for the people receiving that information. Not to mention, it places the burden of figuring out what you learned on the person reading the raw data. Doing so will place a huge barrier to adoption in your research findings, which will in turn mean less people will read and use that research.

By organizing your findings into research nuggets, tagged and organized by theme, etc. for easy retrieval, it saves you a ton of time in creating a research report (or removes the need for you to create a research report at all!). Doing so allows these findings to deliver value over and over again instead of living in a Powerpoint report.

Research nuggets or key insights help you and your team organize and act on user research faster and easier.


How to Make Research Nuggets or Key Insights

Step one to creating any research nuggets or key insight findings is actually doing the research (or collecting customer feedback). There are, of course, various user research methods to use but most common favorites are user interviews, surveys, usability testing and field study (or in person, on site contextual interviews).

Once you’ve done research and collected notes, feedback and evidence, you’re ready to create your research nuggets and key insights.

For us here at Aurelius, there are three parts to a key insight:

  1. Title - this is the key insight itself; a statement of what you learned
  2. Supporting notes/evidence - these are the actual notes and/or attachments that give context and evidence to your observation statement
  3. Tags - tags should describe your key insight to make it easy to find and provide metadata for the actual key insight



Sharing Your Research Nuggets and Key Insights

If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

If a research nugget is made, but no one is around to read it, does it exist?

You get the idea. Once you’ve made all those brilliant key insights and research findings you need to share them so folks can ACT on the research.

We’ve seen many ways of sharing findings from user research. Lindsey Redinger from InVision likes to create research newsletters sent out to the company to share recent research activity and findings right in their inbox. It’s a simple and clever way to distribute the research to a wide audience. While you may not need to create a formal newsletter like Lindsey, many times a simple email will do.

Some research and product teams have success hosting “lunch and learns” where they invite folks from all across their organization during a lunch hour to take part in, hearing about and discuss recent findings from user research efforts.

Another way of sharing your research nuggets is the old stand-by to create a research report. Whether a PDF, PowerPoint/Keynote or simple text document - many teams still find success in creating a formal document to share with key stakeholders or clients to communicate what they learned from user research.

In Aurelius, we built a specific feature to help our customers share key insights from research called Collections. Our Collections feature allows you to create a custom group of key insights from any and all research projects you have right in Aurelius. From there you can share it with anyone in your organization, or open up to share in one of the many other tactics we mentioned above.



Conclusion

Regardless of how you choose to share key insights or research nuggets, the main point here is to start doing them and doing them consistently. Over time, having those research insights and nuggets all organized, tagged and searchable will help you build the foundational knowledge to be a truly customer focused organization by making design and product decisions based on real world knowledge of the people you serve.

If you're looking to create your own UX research nuggets and key insights to build a user research repository you should check out Aurelius, the user research and insights tool for design and product teams. Sign up for a 14 day free trial here.

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