A research report shows your method, data and results to the product team.
Research reports are frequently shared with the product team and other stakeholders to validate your design direction and decisions. If you say “design X” and the team asks “why?” You’ve got a research report to show them why.
Once you’ve done the research, you’ll want the keep it on hand for those times when stakeholders, executives or engineers want to know why you’re designing the way you’re designing. The product designer’s best friend is her research data. Have it handy and ready.
A report can be as informal as an email or as formal as a powerpoint presentation that you present to the whole company. It all depends on how you plan to use it. Whatever its form, it must include your primary data: the notes you took while observing, who you spoke with–direct quotes are always a powerful persuader — video and pictures you took during the research, and your conclusions.
What are your conclusions? In short, they’re the decisions you made about the problems you saw. For instance, remember your friend who doesn’t like a particular coffee shop? Perhaps you noted during observation that a lot of new customers were confused about the name of drinks. Or maybe some customers took a long time ordering because they couldn’t see the menu until they got to the cash register. The fact that they couldn’t decide ahead of time, caused them social anxiety when standing in front of the clerk with impatient customers behind them. That bad experience could be enough to turn them off from that coffee shop.
If you see one person struggle with something it’s a red flag. If you see three or more with the same frustration, you conclude it’s a pain point that needs fixing.
All of this goes into your report and tells you what you need to work on in your redesign of this customer experience.