What is user research?
Definition of User Research
User research, which should not be confused with usability testing, can be conducted using a variety of approaches, including qualitative and quantitative. Through user research, there is also the opportunity to investigate a wide range of objectives, which means that speaking directly to consumers can benefit any department within your firm.
Usability testing is a beneficial insight-gathering tool, as it allows you to sympathize with customers and gain a deeper understanding of how they engage with your product or service.
User research is usually done at the outset of a project and includes many research methods to acquire vital data and input. When performing user research, you will interact with and watch your target consumers learn about their wants, behaviors, and pain points to the product or service you are building.
Finally, user research distinguishes between designing based on assumptions and guessing and genuinely building something that answers a real user need. To put it another way, don’t skip the research stage!
Why using a User Research
A marketing department might perform user research to determine the effectiveness of a recent campaign, for example. On the other hand, the product team could research to validate new features. Because of this, until user research is implemented to verify hypotheses or goods that are currently on the market, all teams have to rely on their own experience and judgment. Furthermore, even among the most seasoned and professional groups, there is always the possibility of prejudice creeping in. As a result, user research effectively brings stakeholders together and ensures that their aspirations are centered on users’ needs.
Benefits Of a User Research
We’ve previously discussed some of the specific advantages of user research. Still, before we get into the unique value-adds, it’s worth discussing the overall benefits of conducting user research. Through observation and interviews, user research aids in understanding the behaviors, motives, intents, emotions, and demands of your target audience. By observing, communicating with, or co-designing with a target audience, teams may begin to create and construct relevant, meaningful products and – most importantly — have the interests of the users at the forefront of their minds. This is referred to as user-centric or user-centered ideation in some circles.
When there is no user research, the design process is fueled by “maybe” and “I think so.” Users’ input is critical to the development process, and skipping it can result in the loss of valuable possibilities to evaluate, validate and improve products, features, and campaigns.
Take the example below:
When Tropicana, a PepsiCo-owned juice brand, changed its packaging design in 2009, the company conducted user research ahead of time – but not with its most loyal consumers. Because of this error, a $35 million branding effort was launched, which represented such a radical change from the initial visual identity that it flopped horribly. As a result of everything, from the logo to the print campaign, seeming so disconnected from the brand and product that advocates were familiar with and loved, Tropicana sales decreased by 20% in the first two months, costing the business $30 million in sales.
What is the takeaway from this?
Mainly, we can see that Tropicana should have conducted extensive consumer research and thoroughly evaluated the new visual design approach with this group to determine their most lucrative demographic.
It is vital not only for multi-million dollar rebrands but also for user research. Even for the most minute of UX or UI details, they receive user feedback on how, why, and where is critical to achieving a positive outcome. According to user experience and user interface research, first impressions are 94 percent related to design, and 90 percent of smartphone users would purchase from a brand again if their app experience were beneficial. Only via user research can we be confident that what we are developing — whether an app or a pair of shoes — will look and function the way its consumers desire and require it to do so.
Types Of User Research
To Tim Brown, the CEO, and president of IDEO, “It’s not a battle between them and us or even between them and us on our behalf.” For a design thinker, it has to be a case of ‘we with them.'”
Employing the appropriate user research tools, a designer, or any other professional, may sympathize with and view the world through the eyes of their customers. Keep in mind that user research is a collaborative process including both the researcher and the user. If you want to get the most out of user input, you need to put in the time to prepare.
Here are three examples of user research approaches, information on when you could utilize them in the product life cycle, and techniques you would need to employ to achieve the best results.
You will discover unmet needs through user research.
Even before you put pen to paper to begin creating a consumer product, you need to conduct market research to ensure that the demand for which you believe you are answering is truly present in your target population. This could be accomplished through focus group discussions or contextual one-on-one interviews, emphasizing rich, qualitative feedback to participants. At this step, you aim to understand a user’s current circumstance better – precisely, what are their pain points.
How well do their existing solutions assist them in accomplishing the task you’re attempting to improve?
In the case of designing a new washing machine for small, inner-city flats, for example, you would begin by monitoring the complete ecosystem relevant to that task. What is the location of the dirty clothes storage? How frequently do users do their laundry? Why? How many loads do you do every week? What is the place where clean laundry is hanging to dry?
It is critical at this stage to pay attention to and carefully observe the user’s behavior. Even if they may not be aware that their present solution is sub-optimal, it is your responsibility to search for the implicit clues they are providing you.
How To Use a User Research
First of all, You should be able to pause and test an early mockup of your product solution once you have progressed a little further along the design path. How user-friendly is the overall experience? How much of an attention-grabber is it? Is there any doubt or uncertainty on the user’s part? Do they require a gentle nudge in the proper direction to complete a task?
When you’re a designer, it’s easy to imagine that everything is straightforward and straightforward. You can fully appreciate a user’s product experience if you sit down next to them and observe their actions.
At this point, you should ask non-leading questions such as “What did you anticipate to happen when you clicked here?” or “What did you expect to happen when you clicked here?” In addition, ask people to think aloud so that you can follow their thought processes more efficiently.
The use of quantitative A/B testing is a fantastic alternative if you need to evaluate a digital prototype with a significant number of participants. All that is required is to assess the outcomes in a meaningful way. For example, the time it took to accomplish the assignment rather than a user-provided score of how much they enjoyed using the tool.
Google’s homepage was made more user-friendly as a result of prototype testing. The Google landing page was so barren before the testing that consumers assumed it hadn’t finished loading! In response to this unanticipated reaction, Google implemented a small amount of visual clutter in privacy settings buttons and other similar elements to assure users that the site was ready for use when they arrived.
User research is conducted to determine the most appealing marketing message. Even after a product has been developed and is ready to be launched, user research can help you become market-ready.
Consumer insight is the most effective tool for developing marketing messages, so undertake research to identify high-potential benefit areas and then test the distillation of these benefits into an ad campaign.
Provide consumers with the tools they need to express their emotional reactions to the benefits that have been provided to them. As with the previous question, ask open-ended questions and think about how you might capture individual responses, which is especially important in a focus group setting. You should be well prepared for launch if you’ve moved through the design process while taking frequent breaks to solicit client feedback.