How to Conduct User Research Yourself?

Updated: Jun 3



Have you ever wondered how giant companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google are so successful?


"Customer Satisfaction"


Yes, but have you wondered what drives customer satisfaction?


"It's an amazing user experience backed by wonderful user research."


USER RESEARCH!


In a business focused on the people who use your products or services, user research is vital. However, there are various misconceptions/ myths about user research:


Myth 1: UX research is a time-consuming process & expensive.

Myth 2: User research is not essential/ optional.

Myth 3: User research provides accurate and specific guidance on how to design

Myth 4: UX research is just carried out to gather users' general information.


If you are also one of them who believes these are true, let me tell you one of the pitfalls in UX design is when end users are excluded from the design process, which hampers business sooner or later.


To avoid this, let's first understand:


What User (UX) Research & why is it important?


User Research is a process that helps businesses know about their targeted user's needs, preferences, behavior, goals, problems and help them in designing appropriate design solutions.


In simple words,


"User Research, also known as design research, is a user investigation process conducted to discover or study user insights that guide in creating a successful design."

- Ungrammary


Here are some of the UX Research benefits:


User research serves many purposes across the design process:


  • It helps to prove or eliminate unwarranted assumptions in design.

  • Understand how users navigate your site/ app and identify design loopholes that hamper their navigation journey.

  • Helps in building brand loyalty among users.

  • Speed up product development.

  • Eliminate/ reduce time & cost that incurs in UX fixation or redesigning of site/app at a later stage.

  • Track return on investment (ROI) on UX.

When to conduct User Research?


User experience (UX) research needs to be done at all stages of the design process like defining, ideating, prototyping, testing. Why?


The answer is simple. Design is subjective by nature, and research helps you gain more information every time you conduct it, which will lead to a more profound and user-centered design.


When not to do user research?


  1. When key stakeholders of the company are not ready to participate in the UX research.

  2. When you are not clear about who should be the appropriate person to ask questions to.

  3. When you are unsure what you want to know & how you would implement the solutions derived from UX research findings.

  4. When you conduct user research to validate your idea.


So far, you must have got answers to what, why, and when of user research. Now let's dive in to understand:


How to conduct User (UX) Research?


Step 1: Recruitment


Recruitment is the crucial step in the user research process; it helps locate the right people who provide valuable design insights. It's important to have p[articipants criteria ready before recruiting.


However, there are different ways of recruitment:


a) Internal Recruitment:


Employees are people who are more familiar with the product/service, and hence it's good to have them in user research to gain important insights. However, it's advisable to choose them wisely as being a part of a company; their insights can be biased & chances are they only speak affirmatively about the product/ service under question. In such cases, the research will not deliver the result & can fail.


Pros:

  1. It saves time & money

  2. Familiarity

  3. Increase employee engagement

Cons:

  1. Biased

  2. Limited participants

  3. Resentment among team members


b) External/Virtual Recruitment:


External recruitment is the obvious next step in recruitment. You can find relevant participants yourself by posting on social media, creating a screener survey, giving away some incentive to attract participants, etc.


Pros:

  1. Diverse range

  2. Flexible recruiting

Cons:

  1. Time- consuming

  2. Mixed qualities people



c) Recruitment Agencies


In this method, you can recruit participants with the help of recruitment agencies which can cost you more but can be quick and unbiased.


Pros:

  1. Saves time in scheduling & hiring

  2. Different user personas

  3. Unbiased

Cons:

  1. No flexibility in recruitment

  2. Expensive


d) Customers:


It's important to include relevant users for solid feedback and know what an actual user expects.


Pros:

  1. Relevant

  2. Honest feedback

Cons:

  1. Difficult to reach

  2. Limitations


Step 2: Interview


After hiring the relevant participants, the subsequent step is to interview, as one-to-one conversing helps understanding individual concerns and clears up any misconceptions. It also gives an idea about user behavior while interacting with a product/ service like excited or frustrated etc.


We recommend keeping a list of interview questions ready beforehand differently for stakeholders & others for users. It consists of two sets of interviews:


a) Stakeholder interviews: It helps elicit their goals, suggestions, and any noticeable past user experiences, which can be an excellent insight for design.


b) User interviews: This is a vital source for a successful user-centered design as it helps explore users' mental models and much more.



Step 3: User Testing


Followed by interviews, the users are given a small task to understand the loopholes in the existing design or validate the new design.


Step 4: Analysis


After collecting the crucial insights, analyze the design gaps & try to identify the navigation pattern & trends.


Step 5: Evaluation Report


Prepare a detailed report based on your UX findings/ analysis & suggest appropriate solutions.


Do's & Don'ts in conducting User research.


1. Recruitment Stage


Do's

  1. Decide the criteria of participants

  2. Provide incentive in any form to participants for their involvement in the research session

Don'ts

  1. Never recruit participants that do not represent your target audience

  2. Don't be too quick in recruiting participants. It can lead to recruiting irrelevant candidates that won't help us provide valuable insight.


2. User Interview & User Testing Stage:


Do's

  1. Keep user questionnaires ready, so you don't get missed out on any important information.

  2. Ask open-ended questions.

  3. Structure your questions

Don'ts

  1. Never recruit participants that do not represent your target audience

  2. Avoid asking leading questions like: why do you like this feature? Such questions already declare that feature is likable.

  3. Don't use exact terminologies as used in the site during questioning. Example: How will you search for shoes on the site? This might trigger users to use search bars, whereas users can navigate many other ways to find shoes.


3. Analysis Stage


Do's

  1. Analyze data collected at each stage instead of waiting till the end. Figuring things out at an early stage can help ensure you ask relevant questions to users and build the right product for users.

  2. Prioritize the area of analysis.


Don'ts

  1. Don't assume conclusions from data collected solely. Involve your colleagues and draw appropriate conclusions. If you are working solo, carefully review notes, task videos, etc.

  2. Don't get stressed with amount of collected data and develop solutions without detailed analysis of the insights. It can hamper the UX for the product.


Do you need experts to conduct user research? Not necessarily. But how experts can yeild better results than you to conduct research.


Get on call to know how Ungrammary experts can help you boost user experience.

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