ZoCo Design is a UX and product design studio with a mission to champion human-centered technology. They work with customer-centric software companies—from big corporations across industries like healthcare, finance, retail, and more, to rapidly growing, high-potential startups—all with the goal of creating meaningful and positive experiences for people. The team conducts a mix of quantitative and qualitative research, with special expertise on the latter, and uses those insights to shape the strategy, architecture, and design of digital products. Research is crucial at ZoCo to remove bias and assumptions about what customers want and make confident and traceable decisions.
As ZoCo’s research practice began taking form, it evolved into something more art than science. Presentations to stakeholders involved pictures of sticky notes with handwriting and insights which were impossible to tie to the source. Clients couldn’t visualize how researchers got to their conclusion and raised questions about the validity of insights. ZoCo’s team was looking for a tool to demonstrate the merit of their craft and bring greater transparency to the process.
With Dovetail’s clear and structured workflow, ZoCo was able to create tangible insights that connect back to the customer. Now 100 percent of interviews are transcribed in Dovetail, which helps reduce human bias, as well as workload, and creates a single source of truth for all themes and bigger ideas. Clients are more bought in because they can picture the steps it took to get to the insight, including transcription, highlighting, tagging, and affinity mapping. Insights that informed the final design solution were proven.
Additionally, stakeholders love Dovetail reports as the format is flexible, creative, and engaging, making insights easier to digest. Graphs, pictures, articles, and powerful customer videos and quotes are nested into insights, helping to legitimize and strengthen recommendations.
Dovetail operates as a repository that the client can continue to build from, even without ZoCo, and serves as a single point of truth for their customer insights. It’s a living, breathing thing that can change over time, and align cross-functional teams to what researchers are learning in real-time. ZoCo’s clients experience so much information siloing on their large product teams, but Dovetail makes it easier to share and evolve insights over time.
As a small design company developing its research capabilities, ZoCo’s initial processes were scrappy and inconsistent. Individuals had different approaches to research processes, which made it difficult for new teammates to get up to speed and start contributing. Manual and unstandardized tasks such as transcribing and affinity mapping were daunting to learn, time-consuming to conduct, and complex to elevate.
Since implementing Dovetail, the research process has become less intimidating because it guides users step by step. From transcribing customer videos to analyzing and organizing data to reaching valuable insights, Dovetail makes research more enjoyable with a beautiful UI experience. The tool is simple and intuitive enough that no training is needed for new teammates at ZoCo who find it easy to jump in, contribute, and understand clearly when a research objective has been met.
Once onboarded, it’s not long before members become power users. Dovetail is flexible and accommodating such that researchers can experiment and find new ways of working—building taxonomies and identifying patterns across projects. The ZoCo team has been able to hone their craft and showcase their work in a way that builds as much excitement with clients as it does internally.
ZoCo’s old way of working was manual and not very collaborative—think fast short-hand note-taking, post-it notes that fell off the board and got lost, and live affinity mapping where you just had to be there. These tasks were extremely time-consuming, and the team needed a way to bring their research process online with the movement to work from home.
Now, Dovetail helps ZoCo save time and collaborate remotely with digital highlighting, tagging, and affinity mapping. Transcription enables the team to speed up their process and creates a paper trail that always leads back to why decisions were made. The project readme section quickly gets team members onboarded to the goals, hypothesis, and approach. It’s intuitive to move across themes and insights and build on their colleagues’ work. Though the team is now hybrid and often works in the studio, these processes have stayed in Dovetail. ZoCo champions the modern age of research which prioritizes customer feedback in a collaborative, sharable, and seamless way so that they can focus on getting to the heart of customer problems.