What we learnt from building a User Council

A 45 minute Case Study by:

Jana Grajciarova


Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Case Study

We are a young start-up based in Cambridge, with a great appetite for innovation and new technologies, building a platform that is connecting genomics researchers with the data they need.

From day one we have tried to build feedback and UX into our product development. For the first year, the ways in which we got this feedback and performed UX sessions was rather ad-hoc and unstructured. This was frustrating for us and we felt like we were struggling to get the input we really needed to iterate and move forward to build a great product. We also wanted to understand our target users and the problems they faced around data access better.

We were introduced to the concept of the 'Customer Council' by a mentor and decided to build our very own User Council. This has given us the framework to experiment with and develop our user testing skills, and it has let us build stronger relationships with users.

The basis of the User Council is to bring together a group of passionate individuals who are or will be users of your product and get them to commit to give regular feedback over a set period of time. The User Council is a model that can be used by any organisation, big or small, in any sector. We have trialled various approaches to get feedback, input and inspiration from our User Council and have learnt a huge amount along the way.

Of course, it has not been without challenges, but the User Council has enabled us to get regular feedback during the product development process in a manageable and structured way. Building a relationship with a consistent group of users has allowed us to fully understand their workflows and problems, helping us to design the most appropriate solution. In this 45-minute case study presentation, we would like to tell our journey from running ad-hoc unstructured UX sessions to building and leveraging a well-structured User Council and pass on our learnings so that others can build their very own 'Customer Councils'.

About the Speaker

Jana has been a designer at Repositive for 2 years. Her design career started after finishing her diploma in graphic design at Bedford College, when she began to dabble in web design in the vibrant London tech scene.

Although initially more involved in coding than design, she began to get an appetite for user interfaces and interaction design. At Repositive she has had the opportunity to design a web platform used by a very niche audience with specific needs.

Working in a young team with big visions brings many challenges and at the same time opportunities to learn and experiment with processes and techniques. She is always open to trying new methods to better understand the user needs behind the big problem of genomic data sharing.


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