In a data-driven world, it’s easy to become reliant on the information we already have. Finder.com.au, Australia’s largest comparison site, is not short on data. In fact, they have so much data they can compare over 1,800 brands across more than 100 categories at the touch of a button. But data isn’t enough for Finder. They’re looking beyond the comfort of numbers and into the eyes of real people. Yes. You heard that right. Face-to-face with real people. 

We caught up with Parth Gulati, Product Manager at Finder, to discover why talking to consumers is so important. Coming from an innovation consulting background, Parth believes in taking a human-centric approach to product design. He utilises design thinking in his role at Finder by encouraging his team to ask “how do we create products that solve problems for our users in a more personal way?” To Parth, the answer lies in knowing your consumer (not just their user ID).  

“If we’re not talking to our users, we can’t call what we are doing product. We’re designing for humans, so we should talk to humans regularly.” 

Building empathy is really important in designing great products. To Parth, actively listening to your customer’s voice will help to distinguish your product. User research is an “underutilised competitive advantage” that can increase your product’s value and relevance to the consumer. 

“We don’t see a future where you can win traffic just based on Google or search engines. We see a future where we win by helping people make the best decision based on what is relevant to them, as opposed to just what is in the market.”

However, the problem facing design thinkers such as Parth, is that not everyone believes in this process. It can be hard to convince colleagues and stakeholders of the value of research when you can’t predict the outcomes. 

“There is a lot of action that goes into organising research, that is just the hard truth of it. The two places that are the biggest problems and turn people off doing it are the admin that goes into organising research, and then being confident in knowing how to run the sessions.” 

Like Parth, here at Askable we see the value in talking to consumers (so much so that we built an entire company around it). Askable wants to help solve some of these difficulties, so we’ve developed a user testing guide that helps to take the guesswork out of research. But we don’t think we’re the only ones with cool tips! Parth was kind enough to share some of his insights when it comes to running your own user testing. 

Top tips from Parth on running your user test 

Use research as a competitive advantage 

The best product designers have a really keen understanding of UX and cultivate this skill as a competitive advantage. User research is an underutilised tool that can help you get a leg up on your competition.   

Turn insights into actions 

For every single insight you find, generate an action that can then be tracked. Not only will this create value for your customers, but it’s also a great way to convince your colleagues and stakeholders that your research translates to positive change for your organisation. 

Practice makes perfect 

The only way to improve your research skills is to do more of it. It can feel really discouraging at the start when you don’t receive the feedback that you want or expect, but that’s the point! Research can be a long process, but you need to trust that the insights you will gain are worth the effort.

Make it face-to-face 

Talking to consumers face-to-face will always give you richer insights. In-person research allows you to dig into people’s emotions, observe their body language and learn about their underlying drives and aspirations. 

Be aware of your bias 

Creating a good product is about making positive changes in someone’s life, and that requires subjectivity. Be conscious of your own point of view so you don’t impose bias onto your participants. Never assume why your participants respond in the way that they do – ask them!