At 1Password, we’re committed to a customer first, human-centered approach to inform our product roadmap and create award-winning experiences our users love.
That commitment starts with a genuine curiosity about how and why people use our password manager. We need to understand our customers’ goals, needs and wants before we can improve the product and make a positive impact in their lives.
When and how do people use 1Password? What problem is it solving for them? How can we make this experience better without making any compromises on our core values of security and privacy?
To answer these questions we need research. User experience research.
What is user experience research?
User experience research is an essential part of any product development process. It involves making structured, deliberate efforts to understand current and potential customers and their experiences. Product teams use these insights to make smarter decisions and design solutions with customer needs in mind. This results in the creation of inclusive, human-centered experiences, reduced uncertainty and lower development costs.
In a nutshell, UX research involves defining a problem, forming good questions, gathering evidence and synthesizing findings into actionable insights which teams can implement.
How we do it at 1Password
The insights gained from my work as a UX researcher empower teams to make informed decisions and increase compassion for our users. With any research study, I begin by understanding the questions we have, our hypotheses and assumptions, as well as any decisions we need to make at the end. From there, I set goals and objectives for the study.
Next, I determine the scope, timeline and budget. With an understanding of these key ingredients, I can narrow down the study and choose the right approach. The correct method will depend on the nature of the question and when it came up in the design and development process.
Are we looking to explore a new problem or direction? Are we looking to inform and improve designs? Or are we trying to evaluate and measure the performance of a design? These are a few questions I ask myself while creating a research plan. Common methods include interviews, usability testing, workshops, and surveys.
In a recent study, I ran research sessions with people over a video call to evaluate their experience interacting with a new design concept. In these sessions, I asked designers and developers to observe and capture anything they found interesting. After going through our notes we summarized the findings into actionable takeaways so the team had a clear strategy and direction going forward.
User experience research is a team sport
As a researcher, I love learning and creating opportunities for my team to learn with me. I do this by involving different team members in research activities. I also look to our customer-facing and data teams to further understand how and why people use our products.
“UX research at 1Password is not only a known necessary partner to design and product – it’s also a wealth for business opportunities and a boon to internal knowledge sharing. Their expertise in uncovering actionable insights has made it so much easier to design with clarity and certainty for our customers' experience and needs.” – Patricia Puno, Senior Product Designer
It’s incredibly important for us to have this cross-team collaboration to understand a problem from different angles. Regularly connecting with our excellent customer support, success and data teams is one of my favourite ways to uncover issues and opportunities.
I will often sit in on customer calls to learn about any questions they have and issues encountered while setting up their account. I also design workshops to brainstorm and identify key themes with our customer-facing teams. These conversations can provide a ton of insight into a particular problem.
Life as a UX Researcher at 1Password
I’ve been at 1Password for over a year but it never ceases to amaze me the extent to which everyone cares about our customers. For me, this makes being a UX researcher that much more meaningful. It’s an exciting time to be a UX researcher here as we celebrate a growing team, with challenging problems to explore and new discoveries to make. All the while developing the practise of UX research itself.
It’s important for me to have a pragmatic approach to investigating problems and user needs. People trust 1Password with their data, care deeply about their privacy and security and want to feel like 1Password was designed with them in mind. One of my biggest responsibilities as a UX researcher is guiding our product teams to design for real people. I accomplish this by incorporating two key elements in my work: privacy and inclusivity.
At 1Password, every decision is made with our customers' privacy and security in mind. In a previous post we explained what we do and don’t know about our customers. Alongside a pragmatic approach, I carefully consider how to protect participants’ identities throughout the research process and when communicating insights with team members. I also work with our wonderful security and IT teams to rigorously review new UX research tools. We never do anything that impacts our commitment to customer privacy and security.
‘Whose voice are we missing?’ is a question I often ask myself. This ensures I’m always thinking about people who may not be represented and consider how I can reach out and include them so they’re able to shape the future of our products.
Another important aspect is to prevent our team’s own biases from finding their way into the research. One way this is addressed is by proactively writing out any biases we may have before conducting studies. Highlighting biases and assumptions early on in the process ensures we aren’t conducting research to confirm our own biases.
Become our partner ❤️
People who use 1Password are our partners. We are designing for you and therefore want you to continue to be a part of our process. I want to learn from you, your needs and your goals. I want to hear all of your feedback and deep dive into how we can make 1Password better.