If we try to design an experience without clearly defining the user and business goals, we’ll end up creating tools no one uses, we’ll have CTAs that no one clicks on, and ultimately, we won’t be doing much to support the success of either the users or the business. Doesn’t sound so great, does it? That’s why at Cloudberry, defining a list of user and business goals is an essential part of our process to create good experiences.
So, how do we get there?
Define User Goals
We start with collecting information during our discovery phase, which may include user and stakeholder interviews, surveys, and analytics. These aren’t just aims that we think the users want, but rather tangible objectives that we’ve done our due diligence to identify. We typically document user goals in the form of a prioritized list, allowing us to determine the most important aspects of the project. We do our best to think of the goals the same way the users do. For example, if your business offers retirement plans, a user probably doesn’t come to your site with the goal of using a retirement tool, but rather with the goal of seeing if they are on track for retirement.
Uncover Introduced Goals
These are the goals the user identifies only after interacting with the product. As an example, let’s revisit the idea of the retirement website. Imagine you visit a retirement site because you want to check the status of your 401(k) account. On the site, you decide to use a new tool that reveals you won’t have enough in your 401(k) to retire given your current trajectory. Uh oh. Now you may suddenly want to increase your contributions, which is what we’d consider an introduced goal.
Define Business Goals
These come from the stakeholders involved in the project and are equally as important as user goals. Often times many business goals align with the user goals, and there are almost always a few that don’t overlap. Some of these business goals are created because stakeholders often know things the user needs that the user might not be fully aware of. Others are created because the business needs to increase subscribers, clicks, etc.
With all these goals to consider, you may at this point be asking yourself, what happens when your business goals don’t quite match up with your user goals? In other words, how do you make everyone happy?
Create a Master List
Well, we have answers. An important step in the discovery phase of a project is to create a prioritized master list of goals that incorporates both the user and business goals. Often this will mean decreasing the priority of some user goals that were once high up on the list because they are not important or feasible for the business (e.g. “I need 24/7 live support”). As a UX agency, it’s our job to ensure the user goals and business goals are balanced so the end product can provide a good experience to the user while still meeting business objectives.
Now that you have your list of goals, it’s time to take action. This list of prioritized business and user goals is the starting point of defining features, information hierarchy, and the information architecture of the project. Here’s how it could fit in to that retirement website we’ve been talking about. Let’s say your user comes to the site thinking, “I want to know what my 401(k) balance will be when I’m 60.” On the other hand, a top business goal is to encourage users to contribute more to their retirement plans. This would be a great time to think about the introduced goals that we mentioned earlier. By incorporating something like a balance projection calculator on the homepage with a CTA driving the user to read more about how to increase that number—voila!—you’d be meeting both the user goals and the business goals.
As UX practitioners, our main responsibility is to create experiences that allow users to do what they intended to with as little difficulty as possible. Having a clear vision of what the user aims to do and balancing that with business needs will keep you on track to accomplishing this.