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The importance of face time with our users

face time
August 27, 2015

The Exchange Community 2015, our annual Wdesk user conference, is just around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited. Not only do conference attendees learn from us, but our development and user experience teams learn from them, too. Spending time with our customers is one of the most important things to our team. Customer feedback inspires many of the features and enhancements that we implement.

At last year’s conference, one team spent a lot of time discovering more about our customers’ workflow and support binders. The team learned things like:

  • How and when users want to be notified
  • Items they would like to track on a dashboard
  • What they would look for in a task
  • The biggest challenges they faced during the support binder process.

Customer feedback was an important step in the development of these features—all of which are making their way into Wdesk. Last year, two of our interaction designers, Hannah and Aaron, shared their experiences and how customer feedback inspired some of the upcoming changes to Wdesk. Here's what they had to say:

Our third user conference was another great learning experience—not only for our customers, but for Workiva, too.

Product Development teams at Workiva use Agile methodology, which encourages quick iteration and validation of concepts with actual users. As much as we use our products, we admit that we don't always know what customers need.

Throughout the year, as we design and build Wdesk, we talk with users as much as possible, listening to their ideas and reactions to new features. The Exchange Community provides a unique opportunity to push this feedback cycle into overdrive—talking to hundreds of customers a day instead of a few a week.

This year, in the Idea Labs, we utilized "gamestorming" activities, a method that brings together visual brainstorming and games to engage customers in fun, interesting ways. From submitting ideas on a napkin, to illustrating their data challenges by traveling on a train through a town, each activity was carefully crafted to make it easier for customers to tell their stories.

Based on those conversations, we were able to identify needs of our customers and create new ideas to bring back to our colleagues.

Our customers' feedback is invaluable—their input helps us shape the future of Wdesk.

The time we get to spend with our customers is priceless. We get to meet, converse, ideate, and validate concepts. Getting out of the office, stepping away from a computer, and interacting with our customers translates directly into building a world-class solution that directly meets their needs.

Aaron and Hannah couldn't have put it better. Our customers and their ideas are the future of Wdesk—their feedback is crucial to our success. Stay tuned for another blog post after The Exchange Community 2015 to hear what we learned from our customers this year. Got a great idea you want to share? Let us know here.

About the Author

Dave is the VP of Engineering at Workiva. He has shifted his emphasis from code to people over the years, but still loves technology and learning what is possible in the cloud.

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