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Discovering the reasons people hire — and fire — our product


While our product and marketing teams doubled their user acquisition efforts, signup and activation numbers stalled. At this point, we were gaining a solid understanding of who are users are, but we lacked insight into what they needed our app to do for them. What were the reasons people hired and fired our app? 


March 2021 - June 2021


Defined project goals; led all UX research efforts and synthesized findings for the product, design, and development teams; provided design recommendations based on user feedback. 


Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) interviews



As a product team, we lacked insight into our users' unmet needs and what they were trying to accomplish with our product. The Jobs To Be Done framework suggests that users want to positively change their lives through progress, and a job is a means to make this progress. The idea behind this study was if we could identify the areas of positive change our users want to make, we could understand how users define progress and measure success which would ultimately lead us to use these insights to design features and services that support acquisition and retention. 


1. What is the main job people who live with chronic pain want to get done?

- Why is this job important to them?

- How are they currently getting this job done?

- How do they measure success?

- What are their under/over-served needs? 



JTBD interviews are unlike standard qualitative interviews in that there are key thoughts, emotions, and behaviors you need to tap into. Therefore, the interview script should be structured in a way so that the interviewer can build a narrative arc around the decision making process the interviewee took in committing (or not) to your product. It's imperative to capture a timeline of their journey, including their first thought of making a switch to your product and any connected events that likewise nudged them towards the switch. In addition, you want to capture all emotional and social aspects that went into their decision making; that is, the driving forces behind their behavior — what is pushing or pulling them from making a commitment to your product. Ultimately, a JTBD interview is a practice of deep, active listening and deliberate questioning. 


Following the interviews, I first compiled all of the notes across participants at a high level, pulling out emerging themes and noting connected and divergent thoughts and experiences. By affinity grouping users' various needs, I was able to surface 6 main jobs for which people hired our product. Then, I plugged data into existing JTBD models (i.e., forces of progress diagram, job maps) to further explore motivations and reasons for which people decide to commit (or not) to our product. 

Follow-up survey

After finalizing the main jobs and desired outcome statements, I designed a follow-up survey and and sent it to our entire user base. The aim of this survey was to 1) verify that the main jobs I identified resonated with users and were exhaustive; 2) rank the main jobs in order of importance; and 3) quantify which needs were unmet. I used an importance/satisfaction matrix in combination with the desired outcome statements to be able to create an "I-S rating" number for each statement. An example of a desired outcome statement in this case is, "Increase the number of relaxation strategies available to me on a daily basis." This allowed me to then rank desired outcomes and identify which were of highest perceived importance but lowest perceived satisfaction. The product leadership team was then able to take this criteria into their continuous rounds of product roadmapping. 


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This study proved immensely insightful. From my conversations with users, I put together 6 main job stories, including emotional, social, and functional dimensions for each. I was also able to identify users' triggers for signing up in the first place and the forces behind switching to our product from another solution, or reasons they decided to stick with (or look for) an alternative. 

The results of the follow-up survey helped rank main jobs from most to least important to users, as well as helped identify unmet needs that served as areas of opportunity. The insights gathered from this study have since been used for strategic product roadmapping as well as a basis for marketing messaging. 


1) A full report that included signup triggers and considerations for messaging (particularly for the marketing team)

2) Job stories: The context of a user within a certain scenario, their goal, and their intended outcome.

When I ___ I want to ___ so that I can ___.

3) Job maps: A breakdown of a job into specific process steps; a detailed description of what the user is trying to get done 

4) Desired outcome statements: otherwise known as a customer need statement, these sentences are the criteria people use to evaluate job performance. They contain the direction of improvement, what is being improved, who is affected by the improvement, and the context of the scenario. For example, a desired outcome statement from this study was, "Minimize the time it takes to access resources so that I can get pain relief in the moment when I need it most." 

5) Forces of progress: Diagrams that detail forces for and against progress; that is, factors promote or prevent the switch to adopting our solution 

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An example of a forces diagram from the study (purposely obscured)

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