Blending research methods to craft compelling narratives in service design

As a service designer, I frequently illustrate the ‘as-is’ journey, helping project teams and sponsors pinpoint problem areas and opportunities.

Working independently or alongside a User Researcher, I gather data and visualise what’s happening for service users and staff.

One common challenge in qualitative user research is that organisations often view insights as reflections of a few individuals’ opinions. Organisations might hesitate to implement changes based on insights from a small sample size.

Quantitative data often doesn’t explain the “why” behind observed patterns, even with careful collection. That’s why combining qualitative and quantitative research insights empowers organisations to trust the validity of the findings. As a result, it shapes richer, evidence-backed stories.

Why combine qualitative and quantitative evidence for better storytelling?

Personal stories from research add life to data-driven stories. Stories make insights memorable. This enables stakeholders to understand the connections between diverse types of evidence. This can, in turn, spark effective change.

Who to talk to and how to combine qual and quant to tell more compelling stories

Getting started can be challenging, but here’s what you can do:

Talk to frontline staff: They can tell you what they think the problems are. Then you can look at the numbers to see how widespread these issues might be.

Ask stakeholders: Engaging stakeholders in research can serve as an excellent starting point, as they may have their own perspectives on where the problems lie. Expanding the research to involve others will help verify if their views align with those who operate or use the service.

Explore existing data: Sometimes, data that already exists is not explored enough, and its implications are not clear. By mapping qualitative insights onto the data, project sponsors can understand the “why” behind the patterns.

Stakeholders can learn that the quotes used in the research represent a large group of their customers or potential customers. They are not just the opinion of a few people.

My success in telling engaging stories with data

I have earned a reputation for collating and using qualitative and quantitative data to create engaging narratives in my UX and service design work.

In my previous projects, I have:

  • Illustrated the number of users progressing through the sales funnel and used quotes to show common reasons for drop-offs.
  • Used data to narrate a story about the unpredictable nature of decision-making and its impact on a person’s life.
  • Presented data on the number of users taking a specific route into a service, highlighting the pain points along the journey and their eventual destination.
  • Depicted a user’s journey around a website, combining it with quotes to showcase the consequences of preventing users from accomplishing their goals.

By bringing together personal insights and hard numbers, we can tell engaging stories that connect with people and drive impactful change.

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