Understanding users is paramount in the world of user experience (UX) design and product development. One principle that has gained traction in recent years is the GOOB (Get Out of the Building) concept. This idea, inspired by the Lean Startup methodology and Lean UX principles, emphasizes the importance of getting out of the office and interacting with real users to gather insights and validate assumptions. This blog post will explore the GOOB concept and its benefits and provide two hypothetical examples of how researchers and practitioners can apply it to their work.
The GOOB Concept
The GOOB principle is straightforward: to truly understand users and their needs, one must get out of the office and engage with them directly. This means conducting user research, testing prototypes, and seeking feedback from actual users rather than relying solely on internal team discussions or assumptions. Engaging with real users can gather valuable insights, validate or refute assumptions, and ensure that the product or service aligns with user needs and expectations.
Benefits of the GOOB Concept
- Uncovering real user needs: When you get out of the building and interact with users, you gain a deeper understanding of their needs, pain points, and preferences. This information is invaluable when designing products or services that truly address user needs and provide a positive user experience.
- Validating assumptions: It’s easy to make assumptions about users and their behaviour based on internal team knowledge or industry trends. However, these assumptions may only sometimes be accurate. By engaging with real users, you can validate or refute these assumptions and make more informed decisions about your product or service.
- Discovering new opportunities: As you interact with users and learn about their needs, you may uncover new opportunities for product features, enhancements, or even new products or services. These insights can drive innovation and give your company a competitive edge.
- Reducing risk: The GOOB principle helps you identify potential issues or roadblocks early in the development process, allowing you to address them before investing significant time and resources. This reduces the risk of developing a product or service that does not resonate with users or meet their needs.
- Building empathy: Directly engaging with users allows you to develop empathy for their experiences and challenges. This empathy can inform your design decisions and help create products or services that are more user-friendly and enjoyable to use.
Hypothetical Example 1: A Fitness App
Imagine you are part of a team developing a fitness app. Your team has brainstormed several features you believe will be popular with users, such as personalized workout plans, nutrition tracking, and social media integration. Before investing significant time and resources into building these features, you apply the GOOB principle and engage with potential users.
You organize a series of user interviews and focus groups with individuals who represent your target audience. Through these interactions, you discover that while some initial ideas are popular, users are also interested in features your team still needed to consider, such as virtual fitness classes and integration with wearable devices. Additionally, you learn that some users are concerned about the potential for the app to promote unhealthy body image or competition.
By applying the GOOB principle, your team can incorporate these insights into the app’s design, focusing on features that genuinely resonate with users and addressing potential concerns. This approach reduces the risk of developing a product that fails to meet user needs and ultimately leads to a more successful app.
Hypothetical Example 2: An E-commerce Website
In another scenario, let us say you are working on improving the user experience for an e-commerce website. Your team has identified several areas for improvement, such as streamlining the checkout process, enhancing product filtering options, and optimizing the site for mobile devices. However, before implementing these changes, you embrace the GOOB concept and gather feedback from real users.
You conduct usability testing sessions with a diverse group of participants who represent your target audience. These sessions involve users navigating your website and attempting to complete tasks such as finding a specific product or going through the checkout process. You notice unexpected behaviours and issues while observing users interact with your site. For example, users struggle with the site’s search functionality, often returning irrelevant results. Users also hesitate to create an account during checkout, as the process seems intrusive and time-consuming.
By getting out of the building and observing real users, you’ve uncovered issues that may not have been apparent through internal discussions or analytics data. With this information, your team can prioritize improvements to the search functionality and develop a more user-friendly account creation process. This user-centric approach will improve overall user experience and increase conversions and customer satisfaction.
The GOOB concept is a powerful tool for researchers and professionals seeking to create user-centred products and services. By getting out of the office and engaging with real users, you can uncover valuable insights, validate assumptions, and identify opportunities for innovation. The examples show how applying the GOOB principle can lead to more successful outcomes in fitness app and e-commerce website development.
By embracing the GOOB concept, you can ensure that your efforts are focused on addressing real user needs, reducing the risk of developing products or services that don’t resonate with your target audience. So, the next time you face a challenge or decision in your product development process, remember to get out of the building and engage with the people who matter most: your users.