For some UX/UI designers, presenting UX research findings is the most challenging part of the job. You’ve gathered all your information and spent countless hours conducting tests and interviews…how do you turn all that data into an action plan that gets your clients on board?
Several things could get in the way of a good presentation. Too many glaring problems with the digital product, harsh user feedback hurting some feelings, unclear next steps, lack of confidence in public speaking, or a meteor could crash into your house and land directly on your computer (weirder things have happened).
But to start the design on the right foot, you need a slam-dunk presentation to get the ball rolling. How do you lay out the facts, engage your client, gain their trust, and compel them to act?
Unfortunately, we’re not psychic apes (as cool as that sounds). We don’t have a crystal ball to look into your future and tell you exactly how the presentation will go.
What we do have is TONS of experience with UX evaluations and presenting our findings to clients. Whenever there’s been a curveball, we’ve found a way to meet it head-on and knock it out of the park.
In this article, we’ll outline a few potential challenges you may encounter when presenting UX research findings. Rest assured, for every challenge, there is a CreateApe solution!
What We'll Cover
- Keeping stakeholders engaged
- Combatting bias
- Aligning with the user and stakeholder goals
- Keeping presentations short and sweet
- Turning insights into actions
- Using visuals effectively
Why Presentations Are an Essential Part Of Your Project
Communication is paramount for any collaborative project between a vendor and a stakeholder.
No client is ever going to hand you a project and say “Go nuts!” Their company is vital to them and they are investing too much time and money into a product that puts them on the map. To us, gaining our clients' trust means they need visibility every step of the way.
UX presentations are our way of pulling back the curtain, giving the client a glimpse of the unknown. A UX evaluation shows specific problems that need to be fixed to keep their business on the right track, and the presentation gets everyone on the same page.
But it’s not just for the clients! Think of a UX presentation as an outline for a big speech. It helps you make sense of your findings and lay them out in a way that really tells a story. The facts and user feedback are compelling on their own, but it’s up to you to turn them into something tangible.
It also gives you time to plan your next steps before starting the design. You can lay out your priorities in order of importance, pick the low-hanging fruit, and improve your own processes for the next presentation.
How To Present UX Research Findings To Clients
Now that we’ve convinced you of how AWESOME UX research presentations are, you probably think you’re going to go in there, crush the meeting, and not run into any trouble.
You totally could! But, things can always go wrong. We’ve all had a flat tire on our way to work or spilled coffee on our favorite pair of pants — things happen, it’s a fact of life.
Presentations never go 100% flawlessly without questions or pushback. Here are just a few ways you can streamline your presentation, engage your audience, and prepare for roadblocks.
Challenge: Keeping Your Audience Engaged
Meeting with creative teams is exciting for clients, but going over numbers and data usually isn’t. How often have your eyes glazed over while listening to speakers go over metrics and charts?
While numbers aren’t typically engaging on their own, the data you gather during a UX evaluation are the eye-openers clients need to improve their products. You can’t do a UX research presentation without hard-hitting data.
Solution: Know Your Audience
As the kids say: “Read the room.”
You’re not connecting with your audience when you’re just clicking through slides and reading off numbers. Your presentation needs to appeal to their interests, whether it’s increasing their conversions or improving their branding to reach a new demographic.
Presenting UX research findings to clients gives you an opportunity to flex your storytelling skills. Understanding your client’s desires is as critical as understanding the user’s goals.
“Your target users were visiting your website, ready and rearing to request a demo of your SaaS system. But they don’t have time to scroll through your whole website to find the form they need. Your users became frustrated when they couldn’t find it right away — and as a result, 95% of them abandoned ship.”
How much more interesting does that sound than “95% of the users leave the website before starting the conversion process”? Demonstrate the problem by emphasizing the user’s journey.
Challenge: Combatting Bias
We’ve all seen an article online that didn’t agree with our point of view and gave it a quick scoff or eye-roll before scrolling by. Don’t lie, bias is just a part of our human nature.
Sometimes clients can be a little stuck in their ways without knowing how much it’s hindering their product. But as tech evolves, so do best practices. What worked best in 2002 definitely isn’t going to work in 2022.
Solution: Present Qualitative and Quantitative Data
It’s up to us UX professionals to show clients the way, and the numbers don’t lie. Both qualitative and quantitative data show the value of your work while breaking down the processes that lead you to your conclusion.
Quantitative data is the “what”, while Qualitative data is the “why.” The client needs to understand the weight of both before they confront their own bias.
After all, we’re the experts. This data lends us authority and gives us the know-how to create a successful product. If the client can visualize what’s not working and why it’s driving away their users, they’ll be more inclined to make the changes the product desperately needs.
Challenge: Meeting In the Middle Of the User And Client Goals
For many clients, their profit is their bottom line. If they’re investing in UX design, then they already understand that satisfying the user’s needs is the way to continue growing and making money.
Unfortunately, the user and business goals don’t always intersect perfectly. The user could be looking for a feature that is out of the business’ capabilities or a cheaper solution that would not benefit the client. How do you find compromises that appease both stakeholders?
Solution: Lead With Empathy
Empathy is the name of the game in UX design, for both users AND clients. All our stakeholders need to know we have their best interests at heart for us to gain their trust.
It’s also super helpful in battling the confirmation bias we mentioned earlier. The client needs to understand that when we present findings that don’t mesh with their methods, it’s all in the name of helping their bottom line.
When we empathize with both the client’s and the user’s goals, it’s much easier to think critically and present solutions that serve both stakeholders.
Challenge: Keeping Presentations Short And Sweet
UX presentations are only a short part of our client’s day. We gather plenty of data during UX evaluations (sometimes enough for an hours-long presentation), but we only get a limited amount of time to go over our findings and address questions and concerns before kickoff.
As much as we’d like to spend our whole day doing a collaborative working session with our clients, they’re just too busy. How do we show them that their product is in capable hands without presenting every single piece of data we collected?
Solution: Focus On Three To Four Key Findings
Target data points that capture the big picture. No matter how much information you collect, chances are that presenting UX research findings can be summed up in a few main points. The rest of your findings will likely fall under the same umbrella as the main ones.
It’s all about how you structure your presentation. You can’t just rattle off all your data points and expect your audience to be invested all the way. Keep it tight by focusing on the three or four most compelling points, and lump supplemental findings under those talking points.
User feedback also helps you illustrate the problem by letting the client see things from their user’s perspective. You can present tons of data about why something isn’t working, but nothing hits home quite like the user telling them “This navigation makes absolutely no sense.”
Challenge: Turning Insight Into Action
Gathering all the data and putting the presentation together is the hard part…now comes the next steps. You know what’s working and what’s not, how do you actually tackle the problem?
The client needs to know exactly what the next steps are to be fully on board. Give them the confidence they need with creative solutions and a solid plan of attack.
Solution: List Your Recommendations
At CreateApe, everything we do is backed up by research and findings from past projects. It gives us the validation we need to know we’re making the right changes.
Your clients are trusting that you’re the expert when it comes to user experience. Come armed with a plan that shows you’re invested in the project and prepared to make it a raging success.
Address the easy fixes first to get the ball rolling. Things that can be remedied quickly to improve the existing experience without having to wait for the final project. Then, lay out your long-term plans (new onboarding flows, features, total website face-lift, etc).
Challenge: Show, Don’t Tell
Even the most engaging and exciting speakers still need visual aids. Think of the last TedTalk you watched…was the speaker just standing there waving their arms around or did they have slideshows or props to help bring their words to life.
Sometimes visuals say so much more than words ever could. Not only do they illustrate the problem you want to solve, but they also provide more value to your presentation by giving your audience something to chew on in between numbers and written content.
Solution: Using Visuals Effectively
“75% of your users didn’t scroll past the top section of the page” is an eye-opening statistic on its own, but how much more effective does this look?:
Here, the client can see the activity on the page and where users are trailing off. This is the wake-up call they need to restructure the content of the page and lead with the user’s main goal. Bing, bang, boom…problem solved.
You can also get creative while presenting UX research findings. Think about including some before and after shots to show off your design chops. Give them a little taste of what’s to come. Abstract data visualization is also super hot right now, so incorporating some out-of-the-box charts and interaction design couldn’t hurt either.
Knock Your Presentation Out Of the Park!
It's not enough to convince your client of the value of UX. They need to visualize the product's pain points and see a solid action plan before they confidently invest their time and money.
Knowing what to present is half the battle. When all of this important ground is covered, all that's left is letting your personality and UX-pertise shine. Pace yourself, lean on data, gain the client's trust, and kick your partnership off right!