Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

Understanding product audiences

How can you start understanding your audience? Watch this video with Abadesi Osunsade and Jean Jimbo to find out.
<v ->It really depends on the type of product</v> that you’re building. Sometimes a company has a consumer target in mind, or they have been approached by a specific organisation or customer. So it really varies. But what is important is that the customer base is varied enough, that it does not have a racist outcome. For example, making sure that, if you are targeting high income individuals, then you need to target high income individuals from all walks of life, rather than from a specific racial group. <v ->Pick a social media platform like LinkedIn,</v> Twitter, Instagram, to start a conversation about the problem you’re trying to solve.
And get people to, like, talk about the problem, and what their solution to the problem might look like, or what they would like from a solution to the problem. And then, use that audience to discuss the product that you wanna build. So you might say like, okay, I wanna talk about how hard it is to budget. I’m just gonna talk about how hard it is to budget. And then, I might get people talking about what they struggle with budgeting. You know, maybe, it’s hard to track things, maybe, I’m just afraid to open my bank balance, blah, blah, blah, blah.
And then from there it can be like, ooh, what if there was a bot that was connected to your bank account? You didn’t even need to check your balance, and they would just message you when your balance is getting a little too low. Would that be good? Would that be good?
<v ->User research requires having conversations</v> with as many potential users, or current users, as possible. So in my role, for example, as a product manager, it’s important for me to get as much data points from as many different kinds of users that I may potentially have. And when it comes to anti-racism, you would, therefore, want to make sure that you are interviewing and talking to as many users from different backgrounds as possible, and across the racial spectrum. <v ->I think it’s about resisting the intuition</v> to create a scalable survey and a scalable survey rollout.
Because, actually, you have to think of each individual user who’s giving time for your research, and what they need, and how to get the information from them in a way that is as accommodating as possible. So, you know, think about how you would design, let’s say, a form. If someone blind had to fill it out, or someone deaf had to fill it out, or someone with any other accessibility issue, or someone who doesn’t even go on the internet. I think it’s just really important to actually think of the, maybe, most marginalised or underrepresented identities that you’d still like to cater for, and optimise the research project to them.
Don’t optimise it for yourself, and don’t optimise it for someone who, maybe, has more privileges than them. Actually optimise it for the person who, maybe, is the most neurodiverse, or, like, the further from the norm. And if you optimise it for them, then it should work for everybody else.
<v ->There are certain demographics</v> that fall under protected classes, in different parts of the world. It’s important that you take into account different races, different demographics, unless your product is specifically designed for a specific demographic, and not for discriminatory purposes. <v ->It’s like a principle of challenging the status quo,</v> and challenging, like, harmful narratives around things, like, meritocracy and objectivity and equal access and yada yada ya. The willingness to not take things at face value, and the willingness to step out of your lived experience, and see through the lens of others.
All of these things are gonna be very valuable tools when building a product for a specific customer base, but also just for being a good human navigating a changing world.

Now that we’ve looked at who is responsible for supporting anti-racism in different elements of the design process, let’s start to think more about the people who may use a product or service.

In this video Jean and Abadesi talk about how to determine a customer base and conduct inclusive user research, and how anti-racism can be taken into account during these processes.

Did anything stand out for you in this video? Are there any tips you could apply in your own work? Discuss your thoughts in the comments below and respond to your fellow learners where you can.

This article is from the free online

Anti-Racist Approaches in Technology

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now