We now do scores of usability tests, user interviews, and competitive analysis, and we create detailed reports summarizing our findings. But this brought us to a new problem: without a way to preserve and combine our results, our insights quickly slipped into the hazy distance as documents got lost on a hard drive, or ignored by someone in a different department.
We ended up living in a Groundhog Day research loop, asking the same questions and rarely building upon what we already knew.
Now we need connections—a way to pull together disparate data points, qualitative and quantitative data, and long histories of research into a central clearinghouse that can be shared, searched, and maintained by different teams. After years on a research treadmill, that’s exactly what we’ve started doing at MailChimp—and far from being just a data solution, open access to this information has strengthened the connections between teams, and supported a general culture of inquiry.
It all started with a personal crisis.
A moment of crisis
Customer feedback streams into my inbox in spades from a form on the MailChimp website. Hundreds of emails offer ideas for new features or ways to make things better. I love reading them, but last summer I started to feel overwhelmed. I was reading hundreds of emails daily, many of which had useful feedback, but weren’t worthy of adding to our roadmap. Maybe down the road an issue would reach critical mass, but until then they sat in limbo.
It was choking my productivity, and making my head spin.