Case StudyEcosystem Team: Market Research - Standardising User Experience Across Products

Square Banking, a division of Square, faced challenges in standardizing its UX research practices to support product development effectively. With a team of two to five researchers, Square Banking needed to balance and prioritize various research projects across multiple product teams. The primary issues included managing limited research bandwidth, aligning research activities with product roadmaps, and ensuring that research outcomes were impactful and well-integrated into product development processes. The goal was to create a scalable, standardized approach to UX research that would empower product teams and enhance the overall quality of product development.

Standardising User Experience Across Products

The Solution

To address these challenges, Square Banking implemented a structured approach to standardizing its UX research process, focusing on the following key areas:

  • Initial Setup and Expectations:
    • Recognized the need for a flexible approach tailored to the specific context of larger teams.
    • Emphasized that research should be part of the overall product development cycle, from discovery to launch.
  • Research Intake and Prioritization:
    • Utilized two primary methods for research intake: road mapping and a research intake form.
    • Road mapping involved quarterly stakeholder alignment meetings to prioritize research projects based on company priorities and product development needs.
    • The research intake form provided a structured way for team members to request research support, ensuring all requests were documented and evaluated.
  • Project Scoping and Prioritization:
    • Established criteria for scoping and prioritizing projects based on purpose, company priority, timeline, and level of involvement.
    • Implemented a priority matrix to determine the level of research involvement needed, distinguishing between full-service projects and self-serve or guided projects.
  • Research Execution and Templates:
    • Developed templates and best practices documentation to standardize research activities and support non-researchers in conducting basic research.
    • Created a research repository to store and share past research findings, reducing duplication of efforts and ensuring easy access to insights.
  • Visibility and Advocacy:
    • Promoted research visibility through regular readouts, newsletters, and live streams, ensuring stakeholders were aware of ongoing research activities and their impact.
    • Engaged stakeholders early and often to build support for research initiatives and ensure alignment with business goals.

Outcomes achieved

The structured approach taken by Square Banking resulted in significant improvements in the standardization and impact of its UX research activities. Key outcomes included:

  • Enhanced Research Efficiency:
    • Streamlined the research intake process, ensuring that all research requests were documented and prioritized effectively.
    • Reduced the time spent on low-priority projects, allowing researchers to focus on high-impact, strategic initiatives.
  • Improved Alignment with Product Development:
    • Established a clear framework for integrating research into the product development cycle, from discovery through to launch.
    • Aligned research activities with product roadmaps, ensuring that research findings were timely and relevant.
  • Empowered Product Teams:
    • Developed comprehensive templates and best practices documentation, enabling non-researchers to conduct basic research with confidence.
    • Increased the involvement of product teams in the research process, fostering a deeper understanding of user needs and building empathy.
  • Increased Research Visibility:
    • Promoted the visibility and impact of research through regular updates and presentations, ensuring stakeholders were informed and engaged.
    • Built a strong case for the value of UX research, supporting efforts to grow the research team and secure additional resources.
  • Effective Use of Resources:
    • Implemented a priority matrix to guide research involvement, ensuring that researchers' time was allocated to the most critical projects.
    • Utilized a research repository to avoid redundant efforts and leverage existing insights, improving overall research efficiency.

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