I have just started a new project and I am going to be speaking to customers directly to try to derive needs for a new version of the software application. I have not done this before.
Some of my constraints are:
- Small user segment (less than 300 users) but I may only get to speak to 15-30 reps from the customer organizations.
- I may have access to some in person interviews but a majority are geographically far away and there is not a budget to travel to all locations. So my options are phone or online interactions.
- My agency does not have a culture of user-research yet and I am the only UX professional.
- This may be my only opportunity to communicate with end users. If it goes well it may open up future possibilities.
My tentative goals are:
Differentiate technical roles of users to determine the need for specific features.
Determine how our app is being used in customer day to day processes and identify pain points.
- For onsite interviews I would like to gather as much information as possible. For Example: identifying if they are using browser versions or browser tools that may hinder the display of our app.
My questions are:
I have been reading that focusing on the past is the best way to get information on users goals, tasks, and day to day activities. We have a small what are other framing techniques to help keep the conversation focused so that I am not trying to answer customer service issues?
I have been reading that using small prototypes to get feedback can be very effective. I have a backlog of requests for the new version of the software I can prototype but none of it is mature. Is this sort of early feedback recommended? How do you set customer expectations? My fear is having a customer think they can micromanage the design because they are a larger customer. I also worry that it may set false expectations if design goes another direction.
What are my best options for deriving the most relevant information from these customers? Does it have to be consistently derived from a single technique or can I use multiple techniques to try to piece a bigger picture together?