The Value of Knowing Your Users

We recently discussed product value propositions (VP) and provided tips for the VP development process and for improving a weak VP on a product landing page. One of the elements we highlighted as part of the key principles of VP communication was ‘consideration’. The following example shows how user research helped uncover a serious lack of ‘consideration’ in a product VP communication.

A product development improvement project for a homeschooling network and education platform started with a UX and Design Audit. Including users’ voices and perspectives in UX audits is highly important. This audit highlighted serious issues with respect to overall user comprehension. A deep dive into uncovering the source of the issues involved stakeholder interviews, user interviews, and heuristic evaluation of each value proposition and all content. This helped pinpoint a lack of ‘considerations’ as the key issue.

When we talk about ‘considerations’ in the context of content and VP development we mean to understand the users’ knowledge framework and preconceived ideas about the product space. We want to ensure we only use language and concepts users already understand and are familiar with.

In the case of our homeschooling network, the user study conducted revealed that in the homeschooling education ecosystem there was a lot of unique vocabulary, education models and concepts. Additionally, the entire product proposition had been written by people with deep domain knowledge, but, as it turns out, for only a small audience of people who might appreciate this unique education framework. The majority of new users were parents (whose kids were most often attending public education systems) interested in shifting into a homeschooling environment and who were still very new to many of the ideas. These parents (the majority of the target users) didn’t have the preconceived knowledge to fully comprehend the content on the platform. This prevented many new users from feeling at ease with shifting their kids into a new education system, slowed the users from making a decision to opt-into the new platform, and made users feel uncertain about engaging with the platform content.

The result of the user study was a redesign and rewriting of the platform content and value propositions to speak directly to users with little to no familiarity with homeschooling education models and concepts. This involved using comparisons and metaphors from the public education system framework that aligned most closely to the existing knowledge of users. The action taken ultimately resulted in increasing conversion into the program.

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designclinic is a user experience research and design consultancy.