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Make your report user-oriented.

As a researcher, you know that your work mostly revolves around the user. You spend a lot of your time understanding user needs and goals, and then using those insights to make design decisions. This approach should also apply to creating your research report for stakeholders. Additionally, while presenting the report, you should not only consider the expectations of the stakeholders, but also what they are accountable for.

The recommendations should be strategic and actionable.

You normally create a list of recommendations for the research report. It’s good to keep them as a record, but don’t include all of them in the final report. You should present only the top 3 recommendations that are most strategic and actionable. Additionally support these recommendations with data and evidence. Make sure stakeholders know that there are more, but these are the top recommendations based on viability, feasibility and desirability.

Record the details, but present the highlights.

The idea that a design research report should be something really comprehensive, is not so relevant to the modern world. Your stakeholders belong to a world that is ever changing and getting faster. So your report needs to be designed in accordance with this pace. It should be brief and focused on what actions will have the most impact. Consider adding cost, user impact and business value to the recommendations.

Align with the stakeholders.

You should always try to quantify the risk. In case you have a stakeholder with a skeptical nature, you will need to design recommendations in a way that quantifies the risk in doing and not doing the recommendation. That is why it’s important to be clear on what your stakeholder accountabilities are.

Present recommendations with confidence.

After you have used your skills in preparing the report, present it with confidence. Your recommendations should be presented like a viewpoint, and not opinion. Your report is not showing personal likes. It is based on expertise, research, client insights and the relevant data.

Listen to your stakeholders' feedback.

When you have presented the research report and recommendations, don’t expect stakeholders to always agree with you. They may have solid business reasons behind going a different direction or choosing to prioritize some recommendations over others. The key is to listen and ask questions. It’s also important to consider opportunities for additional research or deep diving on specific elements.

Record everything for future rethinking.

Now if the stakeholder is not convinced to go ahead with a recommendation, it’s time to go back to the detailed study that you had done. Remember to save and document everything (transcripts, recordings, notes etc.), but it’s not necessary to include them in the final report. The documented information can help you or other researchers to find alternative solutions if the recommendations or plan is not agreed upon or insights are challenged.

Share your recommendations.

Try to make recommendations as shareable as possible. The more comprehensible findings are, the better the chance of them being considered and appreciated.


In conclusion you have to be confident and concise while designing a research report for the stakeholders. Be user-oriented while making the report, but also flexible toward your stakeholders while presenting it. Achieving this balance is the key to your success as a UX researcher

Designing Research Reports Stakeholders Will Appreciate

  • Writer's pictureBalwinder Singh

Getting Stakeholder Buy-in: Efficiency

As designers, we know that the work we do has a substantial impact; however, it can sometimes be challenging at times to demonstrate how it relates to business growth. When we can show the value of our work, we can advocate for bigger design teams to help focus business goals around the needs of our users. We can also start driving value to focus on building on design systems so that designers can focus on higher value problems, moments of delight for our users and product quality.


Before we jump into ways we can start demonstrating the value of our work and the value of Design Systems, let’s first clarify what a Design System is.


How will we measure?


Measuring efficiency starts with setting a baseline. Here are some quantitative measurements:

  • Time spent designing/developing components and patterns

  • Time spent on design handoff to development

  • Time spent designing/developing doing QA

  • Time spent on designing/developing reviews

  • Time spent redesigning components and patterns

  • Time spent training and onboarding new designers/developers

Here are some qualitative measure:

  • Do you feel that the work you do impacts the client experience?

  • Do you feel like design and development are aligned?

  • How would you rate the design/developer culture?

What to do with your baseline metrics

Now that you have some baseline metrics, you can start to define the opportunity. There are some assumptions you can make based on other companies' success in implementing design systems. We have found that commonly a 25-30% increase in productivity is an assumption. Now quantify this over time spent on the above qualitative metrics.

Speed of production 30% X hourly rate; 75/hr for designer, 85/hr for developer

  • 75 x 37.5 (hours in a week) x 48 (weeks worked a year) x .30 = 40,500

  • 85 x 37.5 (hours in a week) x 48 (weeks worked a year) x .30 = 45,900

What might this look like for a small team of 2 designers and 7 developers

  • Annual savings = $402,300/year

Of course, the formula will need to be adjusted based on your company, but it gives you a way to measure cost savings to the company.


Case Studies

Design time saving: 31% faster with an 18% relative improvement in quality

In his rigorous article, Bryn Ray [1], describes how they went about calculating the prospective benefits of investing in a Design System for one of his clients. By logging and categorizing design activities of a sample of six design teams, they created a framework to evaluate what benefits a mature Design System could bring. They found out that each team could deliver their work in 31% fewer person-hours and with an 18% relative improvement in quality.


Design time saving: 34% faster on a design task

To see what an impact a Design System would have, Figma’s [2] data scientist asked seven design colleagues to create one screen and a screen flow for a banking app. The designers were randomly assigned to two groups and had a Design System at hand for one task, and old design reference files for the other. With the Design System available, they completed their tasks 34% faster than without it. As an extra benefit, several participants reported feeling much more confident in the final result knowing that it was created according to the up-to-date standards of the Design System.


The Lloyds Bank design system saves ~£280,000 per project

In her talk [3], the head of Design Systems for the Lloyds Banking Group, Lily Dart, mentions three main drivers to develop their Design System: consistency, quality and cost. When it comes to cost, the Constellation Design System saved ~£3.5mil between June and December 2018 across the projects which used it. More recently, Lily has reported an estimated £12.7mil in savings for the group in two years. [4]


In conclusion, it's important regardless what state you are at in the Design System continuum to track metrics of your process and culture.

Sources:

  1. Bryn Ray. 2018. How much is a design system worth? — UX Collective. UX Collective. Retrieved March 26, 2020

  2. Clancy Slack. 2019. Measuring the value of design systems. Figma Blog. Retrieved March 26, 2020

  3. UX Crunch Meets Lloyds Banking Group: Design Systems by Lily Dart. Retrieved April 26, 2020

  4. Lily Dart. Lily Dart’s LinkedIn profile. Retrieved April 26, 2020


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