How to implement research results

Posted by Ken Groom on Aug 27, 2019 3:28:10 PM
Ken Groom

You’ve just completed a research project and have a shiny set of recommendations. You’d like to think that is the hard work done. However, in many organisations the implementation of these recommendations is often the harder part of the battle.

Recent work with a large client reinforced this for us and highlighted some of the issues that can arise when different people within an organisation have varying levels of involvement in a project.

Here are 3 common issues and how you might avoid them:

1. Jumping on interim results

As part of this project we developed prototypes to test with users. When the initial prototypes were presented back to senior stakeholders, some parts of the organisation immediately wanted to take parts of them forward into development. The organisational culture demanded that they be seen to be doing something – in this instance, immediately integrating the prototypes into their agile development process, even though they were yet to be tested with users.

How to avoid it?

  • Share information only, don’t share the files
  • Present concepts not actual designs where possible
  • Emphasise the importance of testing and how things are going to change as a result

2. The desire for ‘quick wins’

There is always a temptation to look for the ‘quick wins’ in research – those things that can be quickly and easily changed to make an immediate difference. This is not inherently a bad thing – making immediate changes to improve the user experience is great, as long as it is the starting point and the full research outcomes are also applied.

During this project, however, there was definitely a focus on the ‘quick wins’ over long-term, larger scale improvements. It was all about ‘what can we do now, integrate into the next sprint, and then move on?’

Key members of the organisation had not engaged fully with the research, and as a result were less interested in the harder, more long-term fixes – they didn’t appreciate that just ‘papering over the cracks’ was not the best approach.

How to avoid it?

  • Ensure stakeholder involvement and buy in to the research as a whole
  • Emphasise the relative importance of the recommendations
  • Manage stakeholder expectations up front to ensure they understand the importance of the project and the expected outcomes

3. Cherry picking recommendations

Even after a project is completed and all of the findings are presented, there is still the risk that parts of the organisation will pick and choose which of the recommendations to actually take forward and apply.

This tends to happen when stakeholders have not been involved in the research/testing, so do not appreciate the importance of the individual recommendations, and that the user journey works as a whole. Similar to the ‘quick wins’, stakeholders may wish to only take forward the recommendations that are easy to implement, regardless of the importance of these within the overall user journey.

How to avoid it?

  • Present all findings contextually – ensure that it is clear how they fit into the broader journey
  • Ensure stakeholder involvement and buy in to the research as a whole


Implementing research outcomes can be hard work, especially in large organisations with lots of parties involved.

If you take anything from this blog it should be the importance of gaining organisational buy in to both the research process and resulting actions from an early stage. With the wider team on board you will be able to avoid cutting corners and focus on the changes that are going to have the biggest impact on improving the user’s journey.

Related blogs: What is the purpose of usability testing, How to analyse usability testing results

Topics: UX consultancy, Usability Testing

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