Published: 12th March 2024

UX Research - Increase your ROI by maintaining and retaining knowledge

Steph Peschel, UX lead at true, explain the importance of retaining UX knowledge within a business and how true's processes support this.

true UX
true UX
Holding on to Knowledge 1

Retaining knowledge and the UX experience

Empathy and understanding are key in the crafting of compelling user experiences.  

We need know how a user behaves, unpacking their goals, considerations, challenges, and actions. Deep insight is the catalyst for innovation and staying ahead of the competition. But what happens when the expert leaves?

Holding on to Knowledge 2

A challenge faced by all originations is ‘maintaining and retaining knowledge’.  This challenge is amplified during an economic downturn. Where every pound spent must be justified and the momentum for User Centered Design maybe dwindling. Maintaining that knowledge and utilising past investments are key. 

When we unpack clients past user research efforts, we see similar issues arise. Whether they had internal team or partnered with a previous agency. These pitfalls can be present.  

Reoccurring issues with knowledge loss in UX 

Impact on decision making: When a specialist researcher leaves, they take with them valuable insights, methodologies, and knowledge about the user, industry trends, and specific challenges faced by the organisation. This can impact on project quality if the departing researcher played a crucial role in decision-making processes. There is often a backwards step toward ‘inward out thinking’ and away from evidence-based decisions. 

Misalignment: When UX is delivered in an insular nature, without wider organisation education. There can be significant misalignment between departments. This misalignment can result in misunderstandings, disagreements, and a lack of cohesion towards achieving organisational goals. The departure of a specialist exacerbates this issue. Even with documentation and handover sessions, the deep insights gained can be challenging to transfer effectively. Resulting in the undervaluing of UX design. 

Holding on to Knowledge 3

The impact on institutional memory

Specialist researchers contribute to building the institutional memory. Losing this institutional memory can lead to the repetition of mistakes, duplication of effort, a lack of historical context, and a potential decrease in the overall effectiveness of the team.  

All these pitfalls and resulting issues ultimately lower the return on investment from historic and future research. Organisations can fail to capitalise on opportunities to enhance products and become disillusioned with User Centered Design processes.  

What true does differently for User Research?

At true we focus on leaving a lasting impact. We want the insight we gain to go beyond a single useability test or discovery project. The results of our user research need to be actionable, used strategically and understood widely. 

To ensure we mitigate issues identified above, we create a Research Repository for each of our clients. We don’t create insight decks that die in a draw, we create living insights boards that evolve with our collective understanding. We focus on actionable items that drive development changes and priorities. We provide unlimited viewer accounts to our clients – which means anyone from within you organisation can have access and if our partnership ends, all data can be exported. Meaning you won’t lose a thing.  

Holding on to knowledge 4

What is a research repository? 

A research repository is a tool that stores, organises, and supports the synthesis of research data. Allowing research to be searchable, decentralised, and reused again and again. Ensuring the most value is gained from every penny spent.  

What are the benefits of a research repository? 

Easy access to insights: Having an intuitive tool, that provides direct access to anyone who wants it, increases the visibility of insights beyond the research team. Specific data points can be easily located through a searchable and well-structured repository.  

Elevated and evolved understanding: Research Repositories, over research decks, allow you to identify patterns across studies. They effectively flag behaviour changes over time. You can clearly see the impact of product changes and recommendations on user behaviour.  

Repeatability: A well-functioning Research Repository means you have the mechanisms in place to quickly initiate a new user testing or research project. Our ways of working and project templates are stored alongside the data.  Ensuring we spend every effort focusing on increasing our knowledge. Not repeating low value tasks.   

Support Agile and Lean UX: Research Repositories are rich in data but lite on documentation time. Meaning they can help build research into Lean and Agile process, by reducing the need lengthy documentation. You are synthesising, articulating, and capturing raw data all in one tool.  

Culture changing: The decentralised nature of Research Repositories means anyone within your organisation can value from the learnings of user research. From the boardroom to your content creator. They can help an organisation shift their culture to be truly User-Centered.  

If you need help to better understand your customers, develop your user research practices, shift your organisations culture to be more User-Centered get in touch.  

true UX
true UX