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Why we do this

Lee Duddell – Founder

In my very first role in digital, as a Project Manager at the Financial Times we never gave a second thought to our users. It was technology first, second and third. And it seemed to work – website traffic grew and eventually most of us got promoted or left for better jobs.

But, that was 20 years ago.

As I edged up the career ladder working for brands such as UpMyStreet and Codeworks we became more sophisticated - our focus was turning to performance and optimisation. We equipped ourselves with a growing arsenal of tools, consultants and data. We started to use words like “intuitive”, “usable” and “frictionless” to describe the user experiences we were trying to deliver.

But it was clear to me that we were failing our users. Not because we weren’t working hard, and not because we weren’t investing in technology and tools, but because we never really understood them. The digital experiences we delivered were mostly based on our intuition or irrational interpretation of data.

Put simply, we lacked the ongoing and everyday insight from users to make informed improvements on everything we did.

So we guessed:

  • “I think our customers will like this new feature because I would.”
  • “Let’s review and sign off the new Home Page look and feel in a workshop with Marketing.”
  • “Competitor Y is better, we should copy that.”

 

 

Sometimes those guesses were backed up, or so we thought, with data. From surveys or focus groups that were designed for market research, but were out of their depth when it came to understanding digital experiences. 

I never got why any digital professional would rely on survey data that relied too heavily on users accurately recalling their experiences?

But we did.

It was beyond me how digital design decisions could be based on opinion and "group-think" from focus groups.

But we did.

So, I decided to do something about it.

In 2009 I started WhatUsersDo to eradicate the dual plagues of guesswork and false data. I went about designing a service that captured user feedback: naturally and in the moment in a way that digital professionals could action.

And now we are delivering user insight to digital professionals from the smallest SME to some of the World’s largest e-commerce players as well the public sector. It’s very satisfying to know that we are making a real difference to over 3,000 digital professionals working across a wide variety of roles in Marketing, E-commerce and Research.

Helping them remove guesswork and false data from their decision making so they make informed improvements, and don’t fail their users.