During the 2019 Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care Symposium (HFES), my colleague, Tara Feuerstein, and I presented a poster on “Designing Studies that Uncover and Connect Business and User Needs.”
The purpose of our poster was to help illustrate some of the advantages of incorporating both marketing and human factors into a study from the onset that uncover and connect business and user needs. Both groups have many different questions that they hope to answer at the start of a study: Who are the users, what are their backgrounds, what tradeoffs are they willing to make, and what is a typical use environment to name a few. Through strategic choice of study activities, many needs can be met for both marketing and human factors departments at once.
Our poster outlines a Product Development Timeline in which various study objectives overlap both marketing and human factors activities and seeks to illustrate how the integration of both can provide even richer findings. Oftentimes, both departments will perform independent study activities which can increase overall project costs and lengthen the time required to execute these activities. By combining activities, cost and time savings are achievable. In addition, marketing may gain richer insights from Human Factors inspired questions and vice versa. It can be enticing to make marketing decisions based on stated preferences rather than usability. Alternatively, it can be tempting to make usability decisions without considering preference.
With both marketing and human factors working together, the combined expertise from both departments can foster further learning that both may have missed if independent studies had been performed. This collaborative approach provides better access to not only uncovering business and user needs, but also in finding links between the two to help foster a more productive product development timeline.