Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

The Research Thing - User Research at Work: Exploring Challenges for B2B Research

I cannot say I am sorry that this weeks The Research Thing’s meet up was virtual, meaning I did not have to commute across a boiling hot London to find the venue.

Instead I sat at my home desk and enjoyed the two talks which focused on how doing research B2B (business to business) has different challenges from the sort of research that we are normally used to, talking to customers and members of the public.

Gabi Stripoli from Babylon Health was first up. She talked about working on an internal project and how she was able to do research for this.

She suggested starting with desk research. Internal groups often have their own newsletters, websites or slack groups and it is worth starting here to get an idea of their space.

The next thing you need to do is get to know your users and build trust with them.

Gabi suggested scheduling regular time slots with them so they always know when they will see you, but avoid creating another slack channel which will just get lost in all the noise of work.

Gabi believes it is only after you have listened to your users and build trust with them that you should think about shadowing them. If you have not built trust, you will not get the full reality of how they work.

We then heard from Calen Cole from Stripe Partners. They focus on ethnographic research right at the start of projects.

Calen spoke to us about doing research within business. When doing this sort of research you have less power than when you are recruiting with members of the public. People might not have the time you would like, they are after all trying to work at the same time. And some companies do not want their staff participating in research at all.

As a researcher Calen suggests you need to be more flexible and instead of thinking about the restrictions, focus on the opportunities that speaking to anyone there will give you to learn.

He suggests you should focus on what you are trying to learn and then be flexible about the methods you use.

He had some useful advice around getting stakeholders onboard, particularly round letting them know what to expect with this sort of research.

He left us with this final thought: Embrace the unexpected and unpredictable!

It was a really interesting event and gave some really good advice on doing research B2B.

However I think quite a lot of what was discussed is also relevant to other research too, so I’ll definitely be keeping it in mind as I go forward.

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