6. “We got lots of insights from the usability study ”

An observation is what you see or listen and insight is what you make out of it.

The term Insight is used very loosely now a days in context of outcomes. In my experience the first (and the easiest) outcome is an observation, which is usually(and wrongly) shared or presented as an insight. If there is time pressure or the researcher does not dig deeper, the outcome could lead to obvious results, hence undermining the process itself. In a 6–8 research , if you get 5–10 ‘real insights’ you did really well. Don’t try to fill up 20 pages with insights, because they are not insights but merely observations.

If it’s too obvious it’s not an insight.

Not that the observations are not important. These really help in setting up the context and will make your story more interesting. In some cases these observations are important to define immediate product improvements. But a good insight will immediately tickle a lot of near and long term ideas and it will be something which will have the potential to drive a whole new product vision.

👉 Investment return calculator

ING wanted to present investment as an alternative to customers who have their money stashed in saving accounts, which for last few years gave almost no returns. The feedback was not very promising and conversion to real investment accounts opened was quite dismal.

During the research, we saw some obvious usability issues with current tool, but there were few insights which helped us understand the real barrier which users face before taking a jump to invest. Example of how an observation could lead to an insight

Observation 1 : Users want to understand the logic behind the return on investment shown in the calculator.

Observation 2 : Users want to play around with input, but are not sure of what to fill in in the fields like risk, duration of investment.

Observation 3 : Almost no one checks out the details of investment product or intent to call the advisor to discuss more after doing the calculation. (This was unfortunately taken up by the team as a usability problem, but there was a deeper reason not to click on these buttons. This misinterpretation of user tests deserve a separate article)

From these 3 observations , we deduce the following insight.

Handhold users, slowly till they are ready to invest : Users lack the knowledge and confidence to start with investment. They need time and plenty of guidance to understand the topic and make right choices.

Insights like these helped the team to try out a radically new design and rethink the whole idea of how we have been building such calculators.

It was not just about making the call to action more visible, but motivating users enough to find the button and click it.

Although, we are still working on this problem, as it’s a deep behavioural bias against investment, but as a team we have a fresh approach to solve this problem, which is deeply rooted in the user understanding.

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