So, the mantra is "Listen to the users. They'll tell you what you need to know".
Are you listening?
What are you hearing?
Are you hearing?
One of the toughest and most culturally revealing aspects of deploying E2.0 is discovering where the egalitarian line will be drawn, and make no mistake, it will be drawn. Let's face it, deployment of an E2.0 solution won't turn an organization into a democracy. The decision to begin a project of the E2.0 ilk doesn't come solely from the passion of ideology or the desire for a more effective and respectful working world. Organizations are taking this path because there is a hope that the bottom line will improve.
In a large organizational world user advocacy comes with challenges. For example, in many large corporate environs, few will ever challenge a CIO with "hey wait, the users said they didn't want that". In others you may be able to openly advocate and might over ridden anyway. If you've done your work (and the planets align) you can sell your point.
Regardless of culture, it's important as a practitioner to build a case for advocacy. Being careful to speak the language of your audience is a foot in the door. The ability to deliver hard numbers and analysis will greatly improve your chances of selling user perspective. Here are a few ideas on hearing, capturing, analyzing feedback, and delivering it to potentially closed ears.
- Listen with a spreadsheet as well as your gut. Capture and measure every bit of feedback your users have to offer.
- Ask for more. If you only hear "I don't like this" ask "what would you expect to see, and how would it support your work".
- Take it offline. Talk, in person, to a variety of users. Arrange focus groups, community town halls or social meet ups where you can engage and get more.
- Use a matrix to capture the variety of messages users can deliver with one comment.
- Understand the demographics. Not just geography and position, but their location in the adoption cycle as well.
- Use your collected site stats, help reporting, and user feedback to draw the full spectrum of user experience.
- When a trend reveals itself watch closely. Use your data to hone in on why.
- Raise your trends with clear analysis and a succinct message. Have the data ready to back it up, but don't throw it all out at once. A tough message and hard numbers can be jarring if ears aren't ready.
- Don't stop if you don't get the answer you hoped for. Keep measuring, analyzing and messaging consistently. Adoption works both ways. E2.0 is just as new to the teams supporting it as it is to your users.
Let me know what's worked for you. What do you do with what you hear?
Thanks for reading.