The value of user insights and how to write them

We can’t stress it enough: it’s very important to write down your insights. Not just because it will tell you what your users do, it will tell you why users do it. With the answers on the ‘why’ you’ll be able to develop the right solutions, now and in the future. The right solutions mean happy users and that’s something we love. But why are they this important and how should you write them down?

What is a user insight?

First we have to clear the sky and explain to you what a user insight is. When running a user test you have two kinds of outcomes: there are findings and there are insights. A finding tells you how your audience uses your product. An insight tells you why they do it.

For example. You have a mobile application where people can rate movies. When not logged into the app you can rate just one movie a day. When logged for free in you are a premium member, you can rate an unlimited amount of movies and earn discounts on tickets for the cinema. After a while you see that 80% of the users don’t use the premium membership. That’s a finding. But why aren’t they using it? Because user tests tell you that it’s not clear enough that the premium membership is free of charge.

Why are they so valuable?

User insights are durable, they are useful on the long term. You won’t waste time on data that is disposable. Findings often become useless when a project is finished. Insights are future-proof and come in handy for other departments, products and services. They let you know how to make products your users know how to use. Therefore they will love them and keep loving them in the future.

How to write down an insight?

After writing down a user insight you have to read it back and make sure you can answer the following questions:

  1. Is it clear what I’ve learned? Is the problem or behaviour clearly stated?

  2. What’s the insights context? Does it answer the who, when and where?

  3. What’s the root cause? Does the insight answer the why?

  4. What are the consequences of the insight?

  5. What’s the motivation of your products user? Why do they use your product? What’s in it for them?

  6. Does your user insight contain recommendations and further actions

If you managed to answer all these questions than you have written down a valuable insight. Congratulations!

Let’s make an example of an insight with the movie rating application:


People use the application to see if a movie is worth watching and they use it to give their opinion about movies they’ve watched (5). They are aware of the fact that there’s a premium membership and they know the benefits (2), but 90% doesn’t have a premium membership (1). What they don’t know is that the membership is for free (3). When people see the word ‘Premium’ they expect that it will cost them serious money. People aren’t used to the fact that you can get extra benefits without having to pay anything. So they have to made very clear that it’s a 100% free functionality before they click on the ‘Get Premium’ button (4, 6).


  1. Customers think the membership is paid because of the word ‘premium’. Change the word ‘premium’ to a word that doesn’t sound like it will cost you money.

  2. Customers know all benefits of a membership but they don’t know it’s free. When summing up the benefits make sure the ‘it’s free’ argument is more prominent.