Understanding the users' needs
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Building software and providing services that meet the needs of the user was central to the unique way in which Lhasa was founded and is still very much at the core of how we operate.
Lhasa’s products depend not only on great software but also on the excellent science that underpins them. Our collaborations with users often start in the scientific realm, where members can exploit their relationship with Lhasa to uniquely express their scientific needs in a collaborative way. Our scientific experts engage with those in member companies who then work together to ensure that Lhasa has a true understanding of what the member needs. Together we build solutions that leverage both the scientific and software expertise that Lhasa is renowned for.
As the scientific solution starts to coalesce, we build a team that takes advantage of Lhasa’s breadth of cross-disciplinary skills to work closely with members. In this way, we can start to design solutions that not only meet the scientific needs of members but also incorporate the ease-of-use, regulatory acceptance and the right level of back-up and support for which Lhasa is celebrated.
Over the years Lhasa has worked with members in a variety of ways to best understand their needs. Lhasa’s approach is constantly being reviewed refined and to make sure that the user’s needs are always met and that that is demonstrated in our software.
Those of you who have been working with Lhasa for several years may have attended one of our International Collaborative Group Meetings (recently rebranded to Lhasa symposia). Lhasa Symposia are a great opportunity to bring the Lhasa community together, discuss scientific and technical needs and collaboratively develop plans for how our software might progress. Often, regulators will attend such sessions which allows us to ensure that not only are our solutions fit for the user’s needs but that they will be acceptable in a regulatory context.
Of course, some people cannot travel to attend such meetings face to face, particularly given the current global circumstances, so this is where our programme of virtual events comes into play.
More recently we have started to use a behavioural research methodology where we observe users interacting with our software. Employing techniques such as eye-tracking, we can get new insights into how our users expect our software to respond; we can unlock a deeper understanding of users’ natural behaviour. This process allows us to get answers to questions such as:
- Can the user easily find important content?
- Is the new functionality easy to find and use?
This research can take place in person or remotely and combining this information with interviews is a great way to get an understanding of how well our combination of science and software is working.
Probably the most important way we understand users’ needs is through the deep and personal relationships built by our Account Managers, Product Owners and Scientists who work directly with those who use our software. Combined with our own knowledge of how users work and the problems they are trying to solve, we can build software that meets our purpose of ‘enabling informed decision-making on chemical safety’.