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How Compass Digital Labs Delivers Insights Under Breakneck Deadlines

Ideally, you have a few weeks to run your usability tests. Sometimes, you need to speed things up. 

Words by Tony Ho Tran

Compass Digital Labs (CDL) lives at the intersection of hospitality and technology.

Their products get healthy, customized meals to the likes of college students, hospital staff, and any other busy users like parents and working professionals.

When CDL needed to redesign one of their core products, though, they had a short window of time to design, develop, and test the prototypes for it.

That’s when they turned to dscout.

We talked to User Research Lead William Georg about how he and his team worked to deliver usability tests on a demanding timeline.

If you've ever had to "pick up the research pace," you might want to read about how these 12 leading brands use dscout to get thorough findings fast. 

William is...

...a User Research Lead with more than five years in UXR. At CDL, he’s dedicated to “understanding how 5.5 billion meals are experienced every year. One meal at a time.”

User research at Compass Digital Labs is...

...innovative and agile. They seek to design solutions to the changing demands of their users.

The problem:

CDL has a suite of apps offered to three core sectors: healthcare, higher education, and business and industry. Each one is focused on providing healthy meals for users in those sectors.

“There was a need to redesign the core app.” William explains. “So, the designers created three alternative versions of the product, which we needed to test.”

Product Design created the three unique concepts and presented them to William and his team member, Sanaz Hafezi. He proposed two weeks of testing; however he learned that they would have far less time to explore the different design concepts.

In the spirit of cross-functional collaboration, all teams involved doubled down on their efforts and made a plan that would work with the time they had allotted; dscout was a huge enabler in allowing them to adhere to the tight timelines.

In the end, testing with dscout empowered them to create a hybrid design that compiled the best aspects of the three initial concepts.

William explains, “We learned we didn’t need to pick one concept. We can go forward without developing any of those three. A fourth option might be the best option.” 

This ability to synthesize and pivot is what takes a product from good to great.

The solution:

While the prototypes were being developed, William and his team set to work recruiting.

“I started recruiting partially with dscout,” he explains. “We wanted to do test with 12 users. Six non-users of our products and six current users—who we’d already had recruited. We put them in separately and onboarded them with dscout.”

To conduct and record all of these research sessions in time, the team turned to dscout Live for remote interviewing. They also found creative ways to stack tasks.

“As we were recruiting and going through screeners, our researcher was already preparing her analysis templates,” William says. “Eventually, she built an hour in between sessions to input the data from the previous session into the analysis sheet.”

Assisted by the herculean effort of the researcher, the team was able to test and analyze their results with days to spare.

“[Our UXR] completed everything, and she told a good story about what needed to be done for each part of the product and what components to consider,” William recalls. “She delivered her report within four days after she finished the last session. She created this insane workflow that enabled her to work super-fast. And a lot of it was basically enabled and powered by dscout.”

The more I can shorten the time it takes me to recruit people and plan the research, the more time I have to do the rest—analysis, synthesis, good storytelling, and good design

William Georg

Case Study: Dear Diary

William: For diary studies where people are sharing parts of their lives throughout three, four, or however many weeks, I liked to share snippets of what they said [to our stakeholders]. It helped support some of the bigger statements and insights we were bringing to them.

We had a mother who was doing a dscout diary focused on how parents plan meals for their kids in and out of school. We had worked with her already and we liked her because she’s a very recognizable participant.

One day, she recorded a video of her at 9:45 PM. Her hair was all over the place and she said, “I just got home and had a rough day at work and also a rough day at university. I’m exhausted. So I’m going to order a pizza. It’s pizza night.”

It seemed like she had almost made that decision at that moment, like she didn’t see it coming. I shared it with everybody! There were parents in the room and they knew what that feeling was like.

It was a great visceral reaction in the moment and it was incredibly helpful in showcasing how the diary studies work [and bringing stakeholders on board].

The impact:

Using dscout’s remote interviewing platform, CDL was able to recruit and screen users, test their prototypes and analyze their results in a tight timeframe while attaining the crucial insights they needed.

“dscout has been really great at helping us recruit and collect data,” William says. “Some of the reasons why it’s been so helpful is because we are given a certain amount of time to do everything and we need to come up with insights.”

“The more I can shorten the time it takes me to recruit people and plan the research, the more time I have to do the rest—analysis, synthesis, good storytelling, and good design.”

Before dscout

  • UXRs must spend more time recruiting and screening
  • Less time for storytelling, analysis, and synthesis
  • After dscout

  • Recruiting process is streamlined
  • Able to analyze data more quickly
  • Stakeholders understand the importance of user testing
  • Tony Ho Tran is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. His articles have appeared in Huff Post, Business Insider, Growthlab, and wherever else fine writing is published.

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