Believe, every idea can be translated into numbers
All your ideas shall be challenged, either by you or your colleagues. There is no idea that cannot b
We live in a fast-paced world where numbers tell a big part of the story. Moreover, we as human beings perceive information much better when we see numbers behind the matter.
But can every idea or assumption to be backed up with data?
Surely. Every idea can be evaluated, though precision will differ from case to case. But there is no doubt that even assumptions that are very UI or UX related can be turned into numbers.
Important to remember:
- Yes, it is possible to do an estimation of any idea.
- Don’t deny it.
- Break down your idea into smaller pieces.
- Estimate them separately.
- Bring the results together.
You probably think “sounds easier than it actually is”. But in order to make sure the desired idea gets a spot in the product roadmap and wins the hearts of the management, you have to be able to argue with data.
Why do you even need to show numbers behind your idea?
A famous quote says — nothing speaks louder than actions. I would suggest — nothing speaks louder than numbers.
In the design thinking approach every idea goes through 3 stages of validation:
- desirability (users)
- feasibility (tech)
- viability (business)
First and foremost you have to be sure that the idea you have is solving a user problem and by doing that it is delivering user value.
Then ideas have to go through the tech screening to find out, if there is enough of capacity to build it, stakeholders to support the team, and channels to distribute.
And you cannot skip proving your idea’s business value. We have to admit that every company is out there simply due to its capability to make profits and the more your idea proves to add a pinch of profit to the bucket, the more credibility and belief it is going to get from stakeholders involved.
How can knowing the business value benefit you?
1. You get the green light from superior colleagues or leads for acting on the idea. Top management speaks very well the language of numbers so anything that seems to yield profits to the company cannot be unnoticed.
2. Although your engineering team cares more about the user value, they are still very rational people — as long as you are creating something good for users, adding business value that pays their salary can also be a good argument when presenting the idea to them.
3. Knowing your idea’s worth gives confidence to you when pitching that idea and be more calm about its progress when it has be launched.
Overall, calculations make you more sure that what seems to be good for users is also good for the business. And combination of these speaks for the success of what is being built.
Let me give you an example that I had to deal with in my team.
We were working on re-designing a page in our application. Re-design, for us, meant changing the layout, adding or altering UI elements and changing the order of the items on the page.
Now these changes are very hard to translate into numbers and especially estimate the business value created after that re-design. But in order to get the idea validated we decided to take multi-angle approach. We wanted to have as many data points as possible.
1. Check on user value
The whole idea of the re-design came from users.
We in the team have a strong culture of paying attention to the voice of users and this is how we started to notice more and more people writing us about their wish to have a specific page in the application more user-friendly and intuitive.
Apart from that, we also have regular user interviews due to which found out more people seeing our page as old fashioned and not easy to use. That all triggered the idea of changing the layout and putting more logic and personalisation behind it. And this is how we went about it.
- We first generated surveys with applicable stakeholders to validate the new order of the sections and information on the page.
- Based on that we have developed a prototype.
- Organised remote user interviews where the old page was tested versus the new one. We gave users the same tasks on those pages and measured the time they took to accomplish them. Afterwards, we asked the participants to rate the pages based on the ease of usage and the logic.
- And lastly, we set up surveys in the app with the current and future users of the page to find out, if there is a shift in the overall satisfaction level.
You see, we ensured that we have as many pillars as possible to validate the user value.
2. Technical feasibility
We came together with the engineering team and estimated the scope of work and calculated how much effort we would need to put in order to make it into the dedicated timeframe.
This is a very important step because due to it further estimations and roadmap prioritisation work was possible to be done.
3. Business value
During the tech planning, the prototype was broken down into smaller pieces. Each piece has been evaluated in terms of time and capacity needed.
That gave a great foundation for value calculations.
Every single piece of work in the application was calculated in terms of business impact.
A and B are filters on the page and they are part of the first small piece of prototype that was estimated in 2-developer weeks to build. These filters are low on the old page, but are placed much higher with the new layout (due to the feedback that we gathered during our surveys, user tests, store reviews). Then a segment of people who chose to clicked on filter A and B was set up. Later these users were tracked on their behaviour in the app — number of clicks, page views and of course leads that they made. In our case, we noticed that people who use these filters, create way more leads. So by bringing those filters up on the page, we can ensure a better visibility and thus a higher conversion rate.
To sum the example up:
- Task: moving filters A and B up on the new page
- Timeframe: 2-developer weeks
- Segment: users who choose filters A and B
- Result: validated that these users have a higher conversion rate
This way we proved that moving these filters up has a business impact because it triggers more lead, which means it brings the company more profit.
That is just one part of the re-design that was measured. All others pieces of work were similarly estimated based on the user behaviour.
What these all have to tell you?
That all your ideas shall be challenged, either by you or your colleagues. There is no idea that cannot be put into numbers. By doing so you can increase your confidence level and reassure yourself, the team and the management that investing time and efforts into that idea is worthwhile.
Don’t be afraid to be wrong. It is so much more important to do the math and find out that it won’t have any business value, that build it with a hesitation and lots of doubts and only then discover that there is no impact.
Product Manager at AutoScout24, passionate about improving people’s lives with great products. Sharing my journey in product development to help others grow.