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Maturity Map: How to Be Successful with Research Hub

A practical guide that any team can use to make the most out of Hub

As Morgan Mullen, the Lead UX Researcher at User Interviews, says, “all teams aspire to make recruitment fast and simple while keeping guardrails in place”—but what this looks like in practice can vary from team to team.

Research Hub is the #1 panel management solution for achieving that goal of fast, simple, compliant recruitment. At User Interviews, we use the Research Hub Maturity Map as a framework for understanding and improving your approach to panel management with our product. 

This framework demonstrates 4 effective approaches for panel management with Research Hub, which build on each other as your research practice matures. At the point of implementation, your team may fit into any point on the map, but the goal is typically to move up in maturity level to improve your efficiency and effectiveness over time.

In this article, we’ll:

  • Define the Research Hub Maturity Map in depth, demonstrating how each approach can be achieved with Research Hub
  • Teach you how to identify where you currently fit on the map and where you hope to grow in the future
  • Show you how to start building your Research Hub maturity from day 1 

What is the Research Hub Maturity Map?

Research Hub Maturity Map  Level 1: Automate - research is fast with an automated and collaborative workflow  Level 2: Standardize - research is consistent with customized branding and templates  Level 3: Curate - Research is democratized with a maintained panel and self-serve process  Level 4: Enrich - research is scaled with a data-rich panel and governance

Level 1: Automate

At this level, research is fast with an automated and collaborative workflow. Teams often just upload a .CSV file directly into projects or use project links to get started quickly with seamless logistics. 

You can get started with an automated research workflow using out-of-the-box features on our Research Hub Workflow plan. You just need to set up an account, add collaborators, connect any tools you’re already using, and start building projects. 

Key User Interviews features used in Level 1:

Level 2: Standardize

At this level, research is consistent across team members with customized branding and templates. At this level, teams are typically still recruiting participants on a project-to-project basis, instead of building and maintaining a panel, but their branding, communication, and overall processes are streamlined and professional. 

You can achieve this level of maturity on our Research Hub Workflow plan, but you’ll need to do a bit more customization than what’s required in Level 1. Along with using the recruiting workflow features and testing tool integrations, you’ll want to configure branding and communication settings for your team to maintain consistent, professional communication with participants no matter who’s doing research.

Key User Interviews features used in Level 2:

Level 3: Curate 

At this level, research is democratized with a maintained panel and self-serve process. 

Teams have started to build and maintain a panel using CSV uploads and/or opt-in forms, and they’ve started to do some basic organization or curation to enable self-serve recruiting using features like segments and invite rules. At this level, teams are typically pulling together only two or three data types to build participant profiles, which may include engagement data from User Interviews. 

Level 3 of Research Hub Maturity is made possible with our CRM plan, which includes all the features in the Workflow plan, plus some advanced panel management features. By the time you reach this level, you should’ve already set up branding and communication defaults, organized your panel, and connected testing tool integrations. Now, you’ll want to introduce additional participant data sources, protect the participant experience with invite rules and limits, and create a process for cleaning, culling, and updating that data over time. 

Key User Interviews features used in Level 3:

Level 4: Enrich

At this level, research is scaled with a data-rich panel and strong governance. While teams at every level have some governance and standardization in place, teams at Level 4 have a deeper, more involved approach to governance. With stricter governance, many researchers and people who do research (such as UX designers or product managers) can confidently recruit from Research Hub without extra oversight from research and ops leaders. 

At this level of maturity, teams are taking advantage of all the advanced automation features and data integrations included in our Hub CRM plan. Leveraging the API and data integrations to pipe in real-time data from other systems allows you to keep participant profiles up to date without manual review and segment your panel based on more advanced criteria. 

Teams operating at this level are considering things like setting up company-wide defaults, ensuring data privacy with permissions controls, and creating processes to respond to participant removal and data deletion requests. 

Key User Interviews features used in Level 4:

Level 1 uses recruiting features and research tool integrations  Level 2 uses branding and communication features  Level 3 uses panel features  Level 4 uses data integrations

How to determine your current maturity level and future path for growth

So, how do you figure out which maturity level you're currently at, and which level you want to grow into? Prioritizing which problems you're solving for will help us recommend the right implementation of Hub for your team's level of user research maturity.

As you’re setting up your Hub panel, it’s important to think beyond your current projects toward a more sustainable panel investment as your team and research practice grow. During implementation, ask yourself the following questions, and consider both the current state of research at your org, as well as your aspirational future vision. 

  • How much time are you spending on recruitment, and which aspects of recruitment could be streamlined? 
  • How much time are your research leads or admins spending on guidance and oversight through the research process?
  • How often do you want to hear from similar groups of participants?
  • How often are you regularly re-contacting groups of participants to come back for follow-up studies?
  • What are the most important participant characteristics that you use to determine study fit? Do you currently have too much information? Not enough?
  • Does your database consist of multiple distinct audiences, such as users of different products or participants with varying experience levels in their careers?
  • How many disparate data sources do you use to house user data?
  • What percentage of your database consists of unengaged participants or outdated user data?
  • Do all researchers on your team need the same levels of access?

How to begin building your Research Hub maturity

Some teams may find that they don’t need to build and sustain a panel and only see benefit in the logistical aspects of Hub. That’s ok! Every team is different, and it’s up to you to determine what works best.

If you do think you’ll benefit from building a sustained panel, you can start by:

  • Cleaning and organizing your existing data: Some teams start out by uploading participants on a project-by-project basis, but that means that much of the data in your panel could be stale or disorganized. Use CSV uploads, segments, and other panel management features to cull and update your existing data and set the foundation for a rich, organized panel in the future.
  • Acquiring new users: Start small with a single source (e.g. adding participants from a CSV file or an opt-in form), then add other sources later on to triangulate on user behavior. 
  • Analyze participation data: The more projects you run through UI, the more engagement data you’ll get from our platform, which will help you enrich participant profiles and make informed recruitment decisions.
  • Improving governance: First, set templates and defaults to standardize research activity across your team and enforce recruitment best practices. Later, you may want to increase participant protections with features like invite rules as your panel grows.

Contact your CSM directly to learn more or for help developing a roadmap to improve panel maturity. 

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