By: Alexandra Karabatsos and Lauren Smail
UX Research has become a growing focus at Kinaxis, but what is it and why is it so important?
UX research allows us to get to know our users better and learn their needs, wants, and behaviors. With this deep understanding of our users, we can inform actionable product enhancements and help guide product decisions that center our users’ needs to improve the overall experience of our product.
What we do
We conduct research at all stages of the product development process: the early discovery stage, the design and development stage, and the post-release stage.
Early discovery stage
Before the design process has begun and sometimes even before a clear idea has been formulated, we conduct studies that allow us to better understand the problem space the product team plans on tackling. We use a variety of methods, including interviews and concept tests, to explore how our users work and what problems they face as well as how valuable our early-stage concepts are to users.
Design and development stage
Once the UX design team has prepared sketches or prototypes of a feature, we’ll often get called in to validate the designs with real users. We use A/B tests, surveys, and usability tests to gather insights about whether users understand the designs and how we might want to adapt them before development begins so that they are more approachable, useful, and pleasant to use.
We track how our customers use our product by running in-app surveys, and interviewing users in order to examine the value and usability of our various features and identify opportunities to improve them.
How we do what we do
One of the most exciting parts of what we do is determining how we are going to find the answer to a question about our users or our product. We love to get creative with the methods we use so that our approach best suits the problem at hand and will enable us to deliver valid and reliable insights. Some of our go-to methods include surveys, interviews, usability tests, A/B tests, first-click tests, and concept tests.
We use a variety of tools that are geared towards research or communicating with stakeholders including Alchemer, GainsightPX, Tremendous, Figma, and Miro.
Who we work with
UX Research works closely with other groups at Kinaxis so that we can integrate our work with broader product goals and ensure that our findings are being used to their fullest potential. By getting involved in the Kinaxis community, we are better able to support product and design decisions that will satisfy our users’ needs.
UX Research is tied closely with UX design. At any stage of the design process, we are called in to conduct usability tests to validate a prototype. This allows designers to get early-stage feedback on their design and determine what changes need to be made before development.
We work closely with product managers, gathering their questions about user needs, pain points, and feedback on high-level concepts so that we can develop studies that investigate these questions. The findings pulled from our studies impact the product roadmap by enabling product managers to make evidence-supported decisions regarding what enhancements to prioritize and how to approach these projects.
We communicate feedback to developers to build empathy for the user experience. We also follow the development process closely so that we can track and explore how customers use recently released features.
Finally, we work with the documentation team to assist them in creating onboarding material, ensure design text aligns with documentation, and share feedback on the content they create.
We're constantly improving...stay tuned!
So, what’s next for us? We’re always looking for ways to grow UX research maturity in Kinaxis so that we can continue to expand our methods and develop even stronger processes for capitalizing on user insights. We're planning on increasing our involvement in the early stages of product development and partnering with other product teams. We’re also exploring new research tools that will enable us to conduct larger, more ambitious studies that strongly impact Kinaxis’ product organization.
What’s more, we’re continuing to build a UX research community with customers and partners interested in sharing their thoughts with us and increasing awareness of the ROI of UX research across Kinaxis – and these are only a couple of the big changes on the horizon!
Learn more about User Experience at Kinaxis: https://www.kinaxis.com/en/user-experience
Intern Researcher, User Experience
As a UX researcher, Alexandra Karabatsos conducts studies with users to inform product decisions and develops strategies to continually improve research processes. She holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in anthropology from the University of Ottawa.
Contributing UX Researcher
Lauren Smail is a User Experience Researcher. She has been with Kinaxis for almost two years and has led UX research projects across all phases of the design and development cycle for various RapidResponse solutions.