A user advocate is a professional focused on making a product or service more user-friendly by working to ensure that the needs of users are taken into account during the design and development process. They collaborate with product teams to make sure the user experience is tailored to the wants and needs of the end user, while taking into account the company’s goals.
The role of a user advocate is to make sure that a product is usable, accessible, and aligns with the user’s needs and expectations. This includes making sure that the user interface is easy to use and understand, that the tool is straightforward and simple to learn, that the product meets the user’s needs, and that the product’s design meets the user’s desires as well as the company’s vision. A user advocate will also put pressure on the development team to ensure that users’ feedback is taken into account and implemented.
User advocates typically begin by gathering user feedback through surveys and user interviews. This information is used to create user scenarios that help guide the product development process. By seeing how the end user approaches the product, user advocates can better understand how to tailor the product to the needs and wants of the users. They will also review market trends and competitor products to create a better understanding of the needs and wants of the user.
In some cases, user advocates might develop product requirements such as use cases and user stories that guide product development. This helps ensure that the product meets the user’s needs and wants, while staying within the company's technical and deadline constraints.
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User advocates can also use analytics and user testing to adjust existing products to the user’s desires or to develop new ideas for future products or services. Through user tests, user advocates can get a better handle on how users interact with products, further helping them develop solutions that meet the needs of users.
At the same time, user advocates should also stay in tune with the development team’s work. They should work together to understand the intricacies of the development process and any technical constraints that may affect the design of the product or service. They should provide solutions to these issues to ensure that the product is designed with the user’s needs and the company’s goals in mind.
Throughout the product development process, user advocates should focus on maintaining a strong user focus in the design and development of the product or service. This includes taking a user-centred approach to design and development, where the user’s needs and wants are taken into account at every stage of the process. User advocates should also ensure that all features of the product are thoroughly tested before launch to make sure they are working according to the user’s needs.