Admitting you don’t have all the answers can be scary, but pretending to have answers when you don’t is even scarier. Most of the time our clients don’t have time or money to do research and gather insights from their users. Or they assume that everyone involved should already know everything about the customer. This can be risky. One way to mitigate the risk is to do some research before you begin to design and build the product. The goal of user research is to bring the customer’s voice into the design process as early as possible.
As a UX Designer, I believe having honest conversations is at the core of what we do. Power lies in who speaks to whom, and about what. Speaking to your customers is very powerful. And I’m here to tell you, even if we think we have all the answers we probably don’t. That is why validating assumptions about customers can be very beneficial, not only in helping the team create the right thing, but also in helping create the right product (meeting user and business needs) faster, which happens when everyone is involved in the discovery phase and the right user research methods are used. Having data about the customer helps us make informed decisions for our clients.
User Research is about uncovering the truth behind the interactions customers have with your brand. It is vital in developing a firmer understanding of both the customer experience and the context around it.
User Research needs to be a collaborative process so that stakeholders and team members see the value in it.
Here are the 6 types of user research we do at HZ:
Interviews with users
After framing the problem space, we can interview users in two ways. The first way is to ask them to show us how they do something. This gets at the behavior of the customer. The second way is to ask them questions. This gets at their attitudes. It sounds very simple, but engaging and having meaningful conversations with customers is actually difficult because it often requires effort not only to listen but to also change. The next step is taking all this research and collaboratively synthesizing key insights into a customer journey model with all of the key stakeholders.
If you want to get insights on a particular task users are doing on your site, we can screen users by asking a few questions and then capturing audio and video of their session on UserTesting.com.
If the goal is to obtain lots of quantitative data about the attitudes of your users, then sending out surveys could be a solution.
A quantitative or qualitative method that asks users to organize items into groups and assign categories to each group. This method helps create or refine the information architecture of a site by exposing users’ mental models
Also known as “multivariate testing,” “live testing,” or “bucket testing,” this is a method of scientifically testing different designs on a site by randomly assigning groups of users to interact with each of the different designs and measuring the effect of these assignments on user behavior.
We are fortunate enough to have an awesome Analytics department here that can analyze and record the screens or pages that users click on and see as they use a site or software product.
User research is about asking more and better questions. It is a risk-mitigation tool and a more scientific way to approach the art of running a business. It’s also just another name for critical thinking. When you ask hard questions, your job gets easier. Research is about asking those hard questions so that you can know the truth about your customers and what they want and need.