The pillars that guide Scoop’s User Experience Insights team

When I first came to Scoop 3+ years ago to join what we now call the UX Insights (UXI) team as a UX Researcher, I had recently left a career in the retail and service sector and was drawn toward experiences driven by human exchange and service design. It was apparent early on that Scoop offered the ability to continue to steep in these areas, and my interest was piqued.

Deciding to join the team at this stage was also in large part due to Scoop’s focus. While a lot of companies are leveraging technology to solve smaller and smaller problems, Scoop was (and still is) tackling broader, societal issues that we face from both an environmental and a behavior change standpoint. These are areas for which research can often provide the most impact, and for this reason, I dove in head-first.


In my first couple of years here at Scoop, I was heavily embedded in the “research trenches,” conducting study after study as our sole researcher. I was working hard to establish a foundation of insights that our product team could leverage both in real-time and in the long-term.

Joining a startup at the 30-employee mark is no small feat. Change is a constant. Things move quickly. But thankfully, there was buy-in from the leadership team around investing in research to help push the Scoop product forward even further.

In the past year, I’ve been more focused on building out our team and scaling research’s latitude across the organization (with a particular focus on developing our UX Insights Pillars, which I’ll get to shortly). Thanks to the long-term, foundational research investments I made here in the early years, a shared organizational ethos around empirical, user-centered decision making has been actualized and even strengthened.

In just two short paragraphs, I’ve easily summed up three years of work, but if you’re reading this, you probably know that building and scaling an Insights team and its methodologies doesn’t happen overnight. To effectively demonstrate research’s impact, everything starts with listening. Listening to what my partners and stakeholders were trying to achieve with their studies and why. Listening to their fears, their passions, and their questions.

From these open and honest conversations, I found ways to meet my team where they were at to provide guidance both when they knew what they wanted to learn and when they didn’t. Interpersonal relationship building, establishing trust, and collaboration are essential to creating an equitable research team at any organization.

It’s me! In the Scoop office.

Now, a little more on the space in which we conduct research. It’s a fascinating one to spend time in if people, systems, and behavior are what drive your curiosities. Not only are we a transportation company (currently focused on solving one of the most challenging subdomains within transportation: the commute), but core to how our business functions is our embrace of a “B2B2C” business model.

B2B2C means that while we’re focused on driving behavior change—encouraging solo drivers to share their commutes with neighbors and co-workers—we’re also operating on the other end of a spectrum, doing things like testing enterprise pricing concepts with Fortune 1000 organizations.

As such, the UXI team must be adaptable to leveraging a variety of research methods, and to partnering with a variety of complementary teams (think Analytics and Sales Insights) to help us best understand the essential research questions at hand.

Every day, everything is on the table—from large-scale surveys to diary studies, to focus groups, to field research, to benchmarking and beyond. The dynamic nature of our work keeps our team coming back for more.

So, how do we prepare to take on these unique research challenges on a daily basis? Through our UX Insight Pillars, which I’ve been codifying over the past year. Three in total, the pillars serve as the driving function for everything our Insights team tackles here at Scoop. Let’s take a look!


Pillar 1 – Product Insights

The Product Insights pillar focuses on immediately actionable, user-centered insights to fuel product development. Traditionally, this is where much of the UX Research discipline focuses its energy within the industry (oftentimes pigeonholing the overall value that are delivered to organizations).

Core methods, scope, and contributions include:

  • Formative / Discovery research
  • Evaluative / Tactical research
  • Short-term product prioritization
  • Qualitative feedback aggregation & analysis

Users:

  • Commuter (B2C)
  • Enterprise (B2B)

An example of an output from the Product Insights pillar is usability testing a new product feature, or a research sprint focused on generating insights to fuel future product roadmapping.


Pillar 2 – Service Insights

The Service Insights pillar focuses on the design and implementation of internal processes to (indirectly) improve the end-user experience. The value of this pillar is two-fold and forms a continuous “feed-forward” loop in that internal insights can fuel external improvements and vice versa.

Core Scope and Contributions:

  • Process focused
  • Journey mapping (end-to-end user experience)
  • Team tooling
  • Service design

Users:

  • ScoopCare (Scoop’s support channel)
  • Sales
  • Customer Success
  • Commuter (indirect, end-user)
  • Enterprise (indirect, end-user)

An example of an output from the Service Insights pillar is process evaluation and development for an internal team—such as Sales or Support —with a focus on understanding the end-user experience and needs relative to the process-based touchpoints.


Pillar 3 – Strategic Insights

The Strategic Insights pillar focuses on how things could or should be. We think beyond immediate product needs to surfacing an understanding of the big-picture—connecting the dots between business, product, and broader experience opportunities.

Core Scope and Contributions :

  • (Design) Futures
  • Formative / Discovery research
  • Long-term growth plans and roadmapping
  • Qualitative feedback aggregation & analysis

Users:

  • Consumer & commuter (prospective users)
  • Enterprise (prospective users)
  • Existing commuters
  • Existing enterprises

An example of an output from the Strategic Insights pillar is the discovery research focused on uncovering new business opportunities or a macro-view of user behaviors and attitudes.


While each pillar is intentionally distinct, it’s important also to acknowledge the entanglement between them. Research initiatives need not fit neatly into one box; rather, they can span pillars (ideally they would!), which can indicate overall strength of strategic alignment and value.

As we dive in head-first into 2020 at Scoop, our team couldn’t be more excited to see how these pillars continue to drive UX Insights focus and overall organizational alignment to user-centered strategy.

Do you have thoughts or feedback on our pillars? Or perhaps some guiding research principles of your own that you’d like to share? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

If you find yourself vehemently nodding along in agreement to any of these pillars, and are interested in helping us to continue to push our philosophy forward, take a look at the UX Insights opportunities we currently have open.

Rachel Buck