An essential part of your role as a researcher is to be able to communicate research findings effectively. This can become complicated when you have a lot of insight or a diverse stakeholder team to share your learnings with.
In this article, I share some tips on two topics:
- Structuring and executing your research report
- Communicating to different stakeholder groups
Guidelines for structuring your report
Tell a story
The research readout is the most crucial moment in the research, so you need to create an impact during it. People engage with stories better than with blocks of content. Because of that, you should structure your report (and presentation) in a way that tells a story by allowing you to talk through it naturally, rather than just reading through categories of insight you have identified in your analysis.
Tip: Try voice typing to talk through the overall report structure and content out loud. Use this narrative to build the structure of your report; it will read naturally when you are presenting it.
The less time someone spends reading the report to understand the learnings, the better. Use summary slides to condense your insight into short, impactful statements throughout the report. Consider a different page design on your summary content vs. detailed content so that people can scan and find them quickly.
As soon as your research report gets shared, people will want to digest it at a glance (especially senior stakeholders). Building on the previous point to summarise often, it’s important to compile your key learnings and recommendations into a one-pager to make the research accessible when you share it. Most people won’t need the level of detail the whole report goes into, but an at-a-glance view instead.
Get your audience to empathize
Listening directly to a customer has significantly more impact than listening to somebody else repeating their feedback or reading it from a slide deck. Use different content types to express the emotion in customers’ feedback: quotes or video snippets are a great way of doing this (also, it’s okay to use paraphrased quotes if the customer didn’t articulate themselves particularly well).
Keep pages digestible
Busy pages with lots of content provide a poor experience for users. Keep your points brief, avoid unnecessary text, don’t try to put too much on one page, and use imagery or diagrams where possible. It’s better to spread your content across multiple (clearly titled) pages than to cram everything into one.
Include next steps
As a researcher, you should work closely alongside the rest of your product team and discuss your learnings and next steps with them to understand the research’s impact. This means you’ll be able to document any recommendations and next steps in the report clearly, and they won’t come as a shock to the rest of the team.
You need to understand who your audience is and be able to communicate with them effectively. You wouldn’t bore the Head of product from a Global company with screen-by-screen feedback on a homepage prototype, would you?
Consider the following guidelines for communicating to different audiences, and ensure your report caters to these:
Senior stakeholders e.g., Head of product
- Relate insights to the business: this audience will be concerned about how the insight affects the business, so ensure it relates to this (e.g., overall product strategy, KPIs, etc).
- Provide summary slides: to allow those without a lot of time to understand the key learnings quickly and easily (without going into too much detail).
- Use varied content types: quotes, visuals, videos etc, to help communicate complicated insights in an easy-to-understand manner.
- Remember,customer insight is only one piece of the puzzle: they need to consider other perspectives from the business and so may not be able to fulfill all the recommendations from the research.
- Try not to use jargon: this audience aren’t practitioners, so they may not understand all of your terminologies; keep it simple and use universal language.
Leading roles, e.g., Product Owners
- Ensure the report captures high-level and detailed insights: this audience needs to understand detailed insight to rationalise decisions made by the rest of the team but also high-level insight to inform product strategy.
- Show quick wins vs. longer-term improvements: you should work with them to help prioritise the next steps based on commercial and customer impact vs. investment.
- Build their understanding of the customer: helping them understand who our customer is and why they behave the way that they do will help inform future decisions, not just the current one.
- Highlight recommendations for MVP vs. those that will delight: they will need to know what the basic needs to address are and those which can differentiate the product or instigate customer behaviour change.
Practitioners, e.g., Designers
- Needs the most detail: they will make tactical design changes to products based on your insights and recommendations.
- Document recommendations and next steps: you should work with this audience closely throughout the analysis to understand what insights are more or less relevant and to agree on recommendations and next steps so that these are documented for them to refer back to.
At Globant, our Design Studio focuses on bringing quality, design, strategy, and production to worldwide digital challenges. We base the definition of our design on the evidence of consumer behavior and observation of market trends. We create solid and relevant solutions that appeal to both users and businesses. Learn more about Globant’s Design Studio’s offerings.