consider.ly https://consider.ly Your repository for UX research Thu, 14 May 2020 12:57:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.3 How To Set Up a UX Team https://consider.ly/blog/set-up-ux-team/ Fri, 13 Mar 2020 11:37:46 +0000 https://consider.ly/?p=18010 UX design then and now “We need to set up a UX team.” If you overhear these words, then you know it’s time for a change. More precisely, it’s time to join the UX wave and ride it. But… how? Once upon a time, developers were free in designing web sites, mobile apps, and software in general. Relating UX studies, if any, were carried out by external service providers. Nevertheless, as early as 1985 User-Centered Design was introduced in a paper by Gould and Lewis. Here they made the first approaches to what we know as UX design today. Within their concept an important key finding is specified: No designer, developer, product manager nor business analyst can put themselves cognitively in a user’s position. This still applies today and is the reason UX studies are (and have to be) conducted. The importance of UX is increasing, more and more enterprises set up UX departments. While some of them already own huge UX teams, others are just beginning to hire staff with UX prefixes in their job description. If you rate your company in the latter case, this article is for you. When you are planning to set up a UX […]

Der Beitrag How To Set Up a UX Team erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
UX design then and now

“We need to set up a UX team.” If you overhear these words, then you know it’s time for a change. More precisely, it’s time to join the UX wave and ride it. But… how?
Once upon a time, developers were free in designing web sites, mobile apps, and software in general. Relating UX studies, if any, were carried out by external service providers. Nevertheless, as early as 1985 User-Centered Design was introduced in a paper by Gould and Lewis. Here they made the first approaches to what we know as UX design today.

Within their concept an important key finding is specified: No designer, developer, product manager nor business analyst can put themselves cognitively in a user’s position. This still applies today and is the reason UX studies are (and have to be) conducted.
The importance of UX is increasing, more and more enterprises set up UX departments. While some of them already own huge UX teams, others are just beginning to hire staff with UX prefixes in their job description. If you rate your company in the latter case, this article is for you.

When you are planning to set up a UX team, you may find yourself asking:

    • Which tasks have to be done?
    • Which roles does a UX team need?
    • What kinds of tools does a UX team work with?
    • Which challenges must be faced?

This article will help you to find answers and offer support for difficulties you may encounter meanwhile.

Budget and task management

There are things money can’t buy. But one thing money actually can buy is a good UX team. In other words: The first step for building your team is to look at your budget. Accordingly, the two competing questions are: Which roles do we need vs. which roles can we afford? Make your decision based on that.

Next, you will have to arrange tasks. Which tasks refer to the UX team, and which ones are done by other departments? Besides, when assigning tasks, make-or-buy decisions are an important factor. You have to define which task areas are fulfilled in-house and which ones can be outsourced.
There are pros and cons to outsourcing UX services. Possible fields of work that you could consider outsourcing are:

  • Target group analysis
  • Participant recruitment
  • Testing sessions
  • Analysis of testing sessions
  • Design
Define which tasks are pending
Define which tasks are pending

Make-or-buy decisions

Outsourcing saves time and lets you focus on your core competencies. You get access to an external professional’s knowledge, which may enrich your UX projects. Additionally, externals have an objective perspective on your work because they are not too involved in the company. It can also be cheaper than hiring and increases your UX team’s scalability. This way, you avoid under- or over-hiring.

But of course, there is another side of the coin. Leaving your work to others means a loss of control. As a critical example, when sensitive data is shared. Hence, not to be involved in each step of a UX process may lead to trust issues.

Furthermore, if the Head of UX decides something according to externally found results, the team could start questioning the methodology or the service provider itself. On top of that, you need to invest a lot of time in communication with your external professional.

In sum, outsourcing is a reasonable way to add the competencies your in-house UX team is missing. Conversely, hiring people brings new remaining knowledge to your company. But letting your in-house team do the work improves their expertise. So, make-or-buy will be a decision you have to carefully make for your individual situation and future strategy.

Hiring a UX team

Let’s have a look at the most exciting part of when you set up a UX team: Who will be your new team members? A UX team consists of multiple roles. But often, they are not quite distinguishable.

This is why the following list of roles is to be understood as an overview and not as “HR’s law of hiring for UX”.

Why roles are often not distinguishable

When you set up a UX team, combining different UX roles in one person is common. There are two simple reasons:

  • Agile approaches: UXers often work in agile project constellations. As a result, role definitions may only be defined for working in a certain process.
  • Budget: Not every company can afford to hire a huge UX team. So they go with who they have and make their employees’ jobs cross-functional.

Common roles in a UX team

The following chart shows the most common roles of a UX team.

Job title
Tasks
Head of UX
  • leading the team
  • managing projects
  • managing budget
  • ensuring the team’s working quality
  • propagating a UX mindset in other departments
UX Engineer
  • integrating UX processes into product development
  • facilitating collaboration between design and engineering
  • determining KPIs for UX projects
  • ensuring a UX project’s quality
User Requirements Engineer
  • identifying the context of using a product
  • defining requirements for use
  • assessing prioritization of requirements of use
  • defining organizational requirements for UX projects
UX Researcher
  • conducting UX research (e.g. target group analysis or interviews)
  • presenting insights to the team and other stakeholders<
  • managing and documenting UX knowledge
UX Tester
  • evaluating the product in various stages of realization
  • conducting usability testing sessions
  • creating test reports
UX Analyst
  • monitoring of performance indicators
  • evaluating studies/analyses
  • creating study/analysis reports
Information Architect
  • presenting information in the product in a user-friendly way
  • defining navigation structure
  • creating an information structure that enables users to efficiently locate what they need
UX Designer I
(Interaction Designer) 
  • designing/defining interaction between humans and the system based on the requirements for use
UX Designer II
(User Interface Designer)
  • creating mockups and interactive prototypes
  • creating the final interface

Enabling a UX team to get started

When your UX team is staffed, their workflow needs to be defined. Since workflows are rather company-specific, we focus on interaction with other departments and helpful tools.

Integrating a UX team in your organization

As UX affects the whole company, a UX team has to be well integrated into the organigram. UXers play a cross-functional role in connecting product management, design, and development. Thus, the main part of linking your team to the other departments means designing their interfaces.

The most important partner for a UX team is product management. Product managers (PMs) receive information from user research and specify product feature implementations based on that. Second, UXers and developers work together in feedback-loops. Third, the designers (if not already included in your UX team) are responsible for the looks and also strongly collaborate with UXers.

For creating an efficient workflow, there are two important criteria:

  • Involved departments must have an understanding of what UX design is
  • Communication channels with involved departments must work well

To achieve this, a UX team should disclose their work process to the whole company. Explain your steps, communicate your outcomes, and share relevant insights.

Tools for UX teams

A UX team needs tools. In the following, we give a general overview of UX related tools. This has no claim to completeness because each UX team has individual requirements. How a list like this will look in your case, also depends on your outsourcing preferences.

Let’s take a look at a few helpful additions for your UX team:

  • Virtual whiteboards for visualizing thoughts, workflows, etc.
  • UX repositories for the curation of data, insights, and UX related content
  • UX analysis tools for monitoring and analyzing key indicators
  • Software for conducting usability tests and (remote) interviews
  • Prototyping software

Keep in mind that the best tool is not able to replace badly structured workflows. Tools are your assistants, choose them wisely and let them support what you do. Therefore, match them with your workflow and its context, not the other way around.

Facing challenges while setting up a UX team

When setting up a UX team, you’ll be faced with several challenges. The following section explains different issues and how to handle them.

Challenges regarding setting up a UX team

Having read the section about common roles in a UX team, you know how many people you could theoretically hire. But to be realistic – you probably won’t hire them all at once.

Also, no UXer excels at everything at once. There is no fantastic developer designer guy who perfectly conducts user research. Following this reasoning: Don’t post vague job advertisements looking for people that don’t exist. Instead, look at your company’s context and put your team together like a puzzle. This means you might have to combine some of the mentioned roles.

If you work at a company that has a good understanding of UX – congratulations! If not, you may first have to convince your co-workers how important UX is.

Some people still mistake UXers for UI Designers and wonder why you need a whole team of them. To avoid misunderstandings it is important to brief the whole company about what a UX team does. Also, this includes the team itself: You may have added members not originally coming from the field of UX. For them it is important that spelling their new job description with a “UX” prefix does not automatically mean they are prepared to do UX.

Challenges regarding research

Relevant information regarding users’ thoughts about a product can be found almost everywhere. But to exploit all this information, it first has to find its way to the UX team.

While doing so, an obstacle often standing in the way is the “research dictatorship”. This term describes the mindset that only UXers are allowed to do UX research. As a consequence, input only comes from one source.

A possibility to overcome this fallacy is using a well accessible UX research system. Such systems provide open access to information regarding UX. Having a UX research system, each employee can contribute to the UX process.

Challenges regarding sharing data

Democratizing UX processes may imply worries about data security. Since this topic is rightfully gaining more and more relevance, these worries are understandable. Especially in the European Union with the GDPR updated in 2018.

A UX team has to manage a lot of sensitive data, for example, personal information about users. To overcome concerns, UXers must communicate why they need the data as well as how and how long they will store it. A UX repository can be a safe way to manage data in one central place.

One argument for not sharing data with or between UX teams could be internal politics. We’ve seen teams that did not want to share insights with other teams of the same organization since they realized them with their budget. In an extreme case like this, you have to reconsider your company’s mindset. But this overtakes a UX team’s responsibility.

Finally, a common fear of User Researchers is that if everyone has access to research output, their conclusions could be drawn out of context and misinterpreted. Instead, they rather seal off their findings and thereby hinder building up knowledge in the organization. Again, a research repository might help in that case, when findings can be easily traced to the context and raw data as well as point to the conducting researcher as the contact person in doubt.

Sharing data in your UX team can be challenging
Sharing data in your UX team can be challenging

Challenges regarding a distributed team

If you work in a company that is spread across multiple locations, your UX team might be distributed as well.

In order to still create an efficient workflow, consider the following: First, you need to define your communication methods and communication intervals. Create communication rituals for your team, e.g. daily meetings. Subsequently, always share your findings. Storing your UX knowledge in a central place will make this easier. And by that, as a positive side effect, you create a “single point of truth”.

Challenges regarding knowledge management

Unquestionably, another orchard of obstacles is the topic of knowledge management. Actually, each employee is a possible source of information. But not everyone is aware of that. This problem is called bad research memory.

To harvest your coworkers’ hidden knowledge, create an information infrastructure supporting storage and linkage possibilities for insights. Again, UX research repositories can be handy for that.
Along with that, UX repositories avoid so-called research silos. This term describes an isolated system that does not cooperate with others. Consequently, information is shared, but not connected. The solution to this problem lies in aligning everyone’s work towards one shared company goal. By this means, each employee learns how to handle information for contributing to the company’s goal. Additionally, an exchange between teams should be encouraged.

Challenges regarding collaboration in knowledge management

When you have integrated all relevant departments into your UX process, the journey is not over yet. When several people collaborate, you encounter different styles of work: Some people may leave little notes while others store huge files.

To ensure a consistent granularity of information, define guidelines. In doing so, define what kind of information is relevant and how it is stored. On top of that, you should set up an obligatory onboarding process for teams that are newly integrated into the process.

Final thoughts

Altogether, putting effort in UX is not a nice-to-have any more, but an essential part of product management and development. To successfully set up up a UX team, keep the following in mind: A company-wide UX mindset is essential.

Without a company culture that is open to working user-centered, you cannot succeed. Therefore, thoroughly prepare the company for UX processes. Make UX a holistic process involving your whole company.

You’ve probably noticed that we’re a huge fan of UX research repositories. That’s because using a central place for data with helpful additions for data analysis, insight management, and sharing findings, will help you kick-off your UX process.

In case you consider a UX research repository have a look at how our customer Plunet introduced consider.ly or directly try it out yourself.

Der Beitrag How To Set Up a UX Team erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
Atomic UX Research as a Research Framework https://consider.ly/blog/atomic-ux-research/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 15:00:24 +0000 https://consider.ly/?p=17882 Conducting user research is the first step of every UX project. While exploring your users’ behavior, the data you collect piles up quickly. It is not an easy job diving into those amounts of data for finding a certain piece you need, answering your specific research question. While working on our UX repository consider.ly, we’ve seen a fair amount of UX teams that came across this problem: A rich body of qualitative data accumulates but is not exploited in its fullest. It’s like looking through a telescope at a tiny fraction, while there is so much more to explore right in front of you. Now, what if UX knowledge was stored in a way so that it is searchable and could be queried for your research question at hand? How can you build up a body of research that you can rely upon over time? To cope with this challenge the concept of Atomic UX Research provides a solution. What is Atomic UX Research? Origin of Atomic UX Research How to store UX knowledge in a meaningful way was once independently explored by two UX experts named Tomer Sharon and Daniel Pidcock. They came to similar conclusions and both framed […]

Der Beitrag Atomic UX Research as a Research Framework erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
Conducting user research is the first step of every UX project. While exploring your users’ behavior, the data you collect piles up quickly. It is not an easy job diving into those amounts of data for finding a certain piece you need, answering your specific research question.

While working on our UX repository consider.ly, we’ve seen a fair amount of UX teams that came across this problem: A rich body of qualitative data accumulates but is not exploited in its fullest. It’s like looking through a telescope at a tiny fraction, while there is so much more to explore right in front of you.

Now, what if UX knowledge was stored in a way so that it is searchable and could be queried for your research question at hand? How can you build up a body of research that you can rely upon over time?

To cope with this challenge the concept of Atomic UX Research provides a solution.

What is Atomic UX Research?

Origin of Atomic UX Research

How to store UX knowledge in a meaningful way was once independently explored by two UX experts named Tomer Sharon and Daniel Pidcock. They came to similar conclusions and both framed the term “Atomic (UX) Research”.

Atomic Research is an approach to managing research knowledge that redefines the atomic unit of a research insight.

To follow the Atomic UX Research framework, Tomer Sharon, former Head of User Experience at WeWork, designed and introduced a system called Polaris at WeWork in 2017. Polaris is WeWork’s in-house platform to structure and retrieve qualitative research data.

Note that there is not the one definition for “Atomic UX Research”. As you compare the following with the groundwork of Tomer Sharon and Daniel Pidcock, you will see slight differences in that we joined their models and adapted wording where suitable. For example, we view “facts” and “nuggets” synonymously, while you could also argue that “nuggets” rather refer to “insights”. Our reasoning behind this is explained at the respective passages.

Definition of Atomic UX Research

The concept of Atomic UX Research is related to Atomic Design. Atomic Design is a design discipline where any UI can be divided into its single parts. This makes the reuse of e.g. buttons or checkboxes easier. On top of that, it maintains the consistency of the design as a whole.

So what if the principles of Atomic Designs are applied to qualitative UX research? Using modular research approaches can turn into a strong UX research framework. Atomic UX Research is a method for making UX knowledge management easier. It helps to organize what you know about your users by splitting information up into small units.

Dividing Content Into Nuggets/Facts

These smallest possible units of research insights are called “nuggets” or just “facts”. They are tiny bits of information collected directly from users. They consist of observations gained by research and their related evidence. There is no predefined format for the evidence. It can be user quotes, video or audio snippets, screenshots, photos, or anything similar.

“Facts” can be seen as a synonym for “nuggets”. There are two different terms due to the two original concepts. The term “nuggets” was framed in the Polaris framework. In the end, both “facts” and “nuggets” describe the same atomic unit of information. We like to refer to them as “facts” since the word itself carries the concept of an immutable, non-debatable piece of data.

It’s All About Tagging

So what to do with all those facts? The key to putting single facts into a bigger frame is tagging. First, you set up the tag categories that are helpful for your project. Possible categories are:

  • Procedural (e.g. date, time, source, research method, evidence media type)
  • Demographic (e.g. age and location)
  • Experience-oriented (e.g. magnitude, frequency, emotions)
  • Business-oriented (e.g. revenue range, business unit, product line)
  • Service design-oriented (e.g. journey, act, scene, character, prop)

After that, you start matching your facts with tags from these categories. As facts get tagged they allow information retrieval. In conclusion, tagging helps to combine and link facts from different sources. Thereby you set up the information structure for your research.

General Process of Atomic UX Research

For doing Atomic UX Research you should know the Atomic UX Research model. It is divided into four key parts: experiments, facts, insights, and opportunities. In the following, each part is explained.

  • The first step, “experiments“, describes “what we did”. This means the process starts with studies that have been carried out. They could be user tests, surveys, and anything else that creates facts.
  • The facts you’ve gained from the experiments are unbiased. Because they are not something like ”the user said X” but a snippet of the user saying X. This step’s description is “what we found out”.
  • From facts, you get insights (“what we learned”). Insights are facts considered in context. That way you can interpret them easier.
  • The last part is identifying opportunities from what you’ve found (“how we could improve”). These new hypotheses can then be tested again to be verified or falsified as shown by the arrow in the graphic. Thus you should formulate them in a way that makes them testable.

A Practical Example

Now you know about facts, tagging, and the general process. What follows now is an example of how to apply this knowledge. Let’s imagine you are a user researcher. Your current project is to test a website for cooking recipes.


Hence, your team conducts a survey and a usability test. When the experiments phase is finished everyone starts evaluating the results. All researchers start looking for relevant facts and tag them. Some facts you find out about the website are:

  1. 1 user accidentally clicked the “Add to favorites” button
  2. 2/4 users did not find the “Add to favorites” button
  3. 1 user says she would like the possibility of adding personal notes to recipes
  4. 1 user thought the comment section would be a section for personal notes

The next step is to derive insights. Therefore you put the facts into context by combining them. In sum, you have findings regarding the “Add to favorites” button, the functionality of adding personal notes, and the comment section. Those insights make you think that:

  • The “Add to favorites” button is badly placed
  • A function for adding personal notes to recipes is missing
  • The comment section is not clearly marked

From these results you identify the following opportunities:

  • Improve placement of the “Add to favorites” button
  • Add a section for personal notes
  • Improve indication of the comment section

After that, your team can test each of the opportunities. This means restarting the whole process and carrying out experiments again. In doing so you can improve your cooking recipe website step by step.

Which Tools Support Atomic UX Research?

The following section will describe two ways of how Atomic UX Research can be done in practice.

Atomic UX Research with Spreadsheets

A simple way to carry out Atomic UX Research is by using spreadsheets. Thereby a table serves as a database for facts. In the first column, you write down the facts. In the second one, you fill in the insights. The third and last column contains opportunities.

Within this spreadsheet, your team collaborates. Each member documents their findings and tags them. When customizing your spreadsheet take care of two tagging rules:

  1. The same tag must be usable for several facts.
  2. An individual fact must be taggable with more than one tag.

The Design System team could then have access to the Atomic UX Research spreadsheet and assess what needs to be improved. Doing Atomic UX Research with spreadsheets is easy and fast to implement. Once set-up, you can reuse this spreadsheet for different studies or rely on templates like this Airtable example for the Polaris framework. Nevertheless, amongst other helpful features, a visually appealing overview is missing.

Atomic UX Research with a UX Research Tool

Another more powerful possibility is using special software that was built to support UX research systems. These UX research repositories offer a wide range of functions such as:

  • Visual overview of your facts and insights
  • Central repository for different kinds of data (texts, pictures, audios, videos, etc.)
  • Dynamic repository with functions for linking, searching, and filtering
  • Working directly with the collected material (like video snippets) instead of quoting users
  • Consistent use of tag taxonomies across your team
  • Features for supporting the analysis, such as interview transcripts or sentiment analysis

10 Reasons for Using the Atomic UX Research Approach

To end with here are ten advantages you benefit from when using Atomic UX Research methods.

Atomic UX Research …

  1. structures collective knowledge
  2. makes UX knowledge visible
  3. provides dynamic storage for your findings
  4. easily lets you include stakeholders
  5. accelerates workflows and increases efficiency (especially when working with distributed UX teams)
  6. improves searchability by browsing for tags instead of mining through data
  7. prevents redundancy
  8. makes verifying your findings easier
  9. removes personal bias
  10. allows saving information for future use

All in all, Atomic UX Research allows considering the UX research processes as more coherent than before. With this concept, your research and search for insights are no longer limited to your current project. And when you think about your research’s long-term effect: The more research you carry out, the more facts you combine, the more holistic your UX knowledge will become.

If you think your team would benefit from such a UX repository tool, try consider.ly and start your 30-day trial now!

Der Beitrag Atomic UX Research as a Research Framework erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
9 Reasons Why You Need Interview Transcripts In User Research https://consider.ly/blog/interview-transcripts/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 13:10:40 +0000 https://consider.ly/?p=17315 After you conducted interviews you are ready to analyze the data. For a thorough analysis, it is usually not enough to write down some observations on post-it notes. Often it makes sense to dig deeper into the data and create a complete transcript of the interview for a profound analysis. Transcripts have the reputation of either being expensive or taking a long time to create. There are nevertheless good reasons for transcribing your interviews anyway: Discover hidden topics and gain insights through word analysis Enrich your findings with data and statistics Streamline your research through analysis processes and collaborative analysis Improve your own research skills Record your interviews to concentrate better on the contents An interview recording (as audio or video) is the basis for creating a transcript. Besides transcription, there are good reasons for recording your interviews in any case. When you are leading an interview you have to take on many tasks at once. You need to listen carefully to what the respondent is saying and have an eye for their gestures and expressions. At the same time, you have to think about your hypotheses and moderate the dialogue based on the interview guide. Additionally – as if […]

Der Beitrag 9 Reasons Why You Need Interview Transcripts In User Research erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
After you conducted interviews you are ready to analyze the data. For a thorough analysis, it is usually not enough to write down some observations on post-it notes. Often it makes sense to dig deeper into the data and create a complete transcript of the interview for a profound analysis.

Transcripts have the reputation of either being expensive or taking a long time to create. There are nevertheless good reasons for transcribing your interviews anyway:

  • Discover hidden topics and gain insights through word analysis
  • Enrich your findings with data and statistics
  • Streamline your research through analysis processes and collaborative analysis
  • Improve your own research skills

Record your interviews to concentrate better on the contents

An interview recording (as audio or video) is the basis for creating a transcript. Besides transcription, there are good reasons for recording your interviews in any case.

When you are leading an interview you have to take on many tasks at once. You need to listen carefully to what the respondent is saying and have an eye for their gestures and expressions. At the same time, you have to think about your hypotheses and moderate the dialogue based on the interview guide. Additionally – as if that wasn’t enough – you have to take unbiased in-depth notes.

A recording of the interview will help you concentrate on the task at hand. With a recording, you don’t need to fear missing or forgetting something that was said and can later recall the exact wording and underlying tone.

Recordings will help you to concentrate better on the content.
Recordings will help you to concentrate better on the content.

Human-generated transcript vs. AI-based transcript

Transcribing your interview recordings by yourself will take its time. If you are proficient in transcribing, have mastered the ten-finger system, and maybe even employ special hardware (like a foot pedal), you might be able to transcribe 1 hour of recording in 4 hours.

Alternatively, there are professional transcription services, that start at around $1 per minute (for the English language, your mileage may vary).

With the rise of AI, there are several speech-to-text services that can take on this task in a time- and cost-efficient way. The quality of the transcript strongly depends on the audio quality and still might not be perfect. However, the time- and cost-savings make this a powerful addition to a user researcher’s set of tools.

Benefits of a transcript

1. Save time on the evaluation

Even if you record your interview (which you should!) it takes a long time to listen to all those videos or audio files again. You have to jump back and forth to find certain parts to get the right quotes and highlights. A transcript with timestamps helps you to scan through the interview contents more efficiently. You can search the text by keywords, locate the timestamp, and directly jump to the corresponding position in the video. Furthermore, a transcript simplifies including key quotes in your reports, since you can easily copy and paste what was said. When it comes to sharing research findings, a popular deliverable is a highlight video. Here the most important parts are distilled without filtering the wording or tone of voice through the researcher. Marked sentences in a transcript serve as you as input for that.

2. Streamline your evaluation by tagging

Tagging (or coding) enriches your research in that it allows you to standardize your research approach. A well-crafted taxonomy of tags supports you in spotting new patterns and undiscovered topics. Ultimately, tagged data can be searched in future research questions and adds up to a repository of user research knowledge.

Why do you benefit from a transcript here? With the available software, tagging parts of a text is usually easier than tagging parts of videos. Besides, reading speed is usually faster than listening speed and we’re used to scanning text documents, so analyzing a textual representation of the interview content is presumably faster.

Easily spot patterns in your transcript via tagging.
Easily spot patterns in your transcript via tagging.

3. Objectify your research

If a certain pattern emerges after a few interviews, you risk overlooking further important findings. Even when listening to the interview again you might overhear certain statements due to biased attention.

The analysis of a transcript and the written word – as another mode of communication – has the potential to make your research more objective. For example, the systematic evaluation of user statements shows if your hypotheses about a cool new feature hold, or if you subconsciously overweighted the positive statements.

4. Discover new topics of interest

During tagging and categorizing statements to specific topics, it is likely that you discover new themes that you did not think of before.

By tagging, you unify the different wording of your test persons on a certain topic. Thereby, every statement can contribute to multiple topics. To find new themes, you consider all statements within a specific topic and look for commonalities or mentions in other topics.

Imagine you are testing your new fitness app. You tag all statements carefully and notice afterward that the category “listening to music” contains a lot of statements about the category “training preparation”. You dig deeper into your data and discover that many users create their own playlists for certain types of training. You’ve just laid the groundwork for deciding to add a new feature that users can assign a playlist to individual workouts.

5. Facilitate collaboration

To avoid interviewer bias, it makes sense to let multiple researchers analyze the raw material. Analyzing a video together with colleagues however is an immense effort, especially if you are not in the same location. A transcript normally is smaller in file size, can quickly be shared as well as edited and highlighted with any text processor, like Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

A textual representation allows you to easily (and without the need for special software) categorize statements and link them to insights collaboratively in a text document. In consequence, your research findings are directly documented and can be shared and presented easily.

6. Quantify your data

Qualitative interviews can also be evaluated quantitatively thanks to a transcript and some tagging work. If you want the tested product to evoke a certain emotion or feeling, you might check how often words matching this emotion have been used by your test persons.

Let’s say you’ve tested a new online banking app. Your primary goal with the app is to give users a sense of security. After you have interviewed your respondents and created the transcripts, you create a list of words related to the feeling of “security”, like “secure”, “protected”, “credible”, “strong”, “real”, and “certain”.

In which interviews did these words occur particularly frequently? Take a closer look at these interviews to learn what made these users feel safe. Again, the textual representation is key to efficiently find the important sections.

Furthermore quantitative methods will help you evaluate your data.
Furthermore quantitative methods will help you evaluate your data.

7. Improve your skills as a researcher

Working through transcripts of interviews you conducted allows you to assess your own interviewing style. For example, did you influence testers by using words that appear on the tested interface? How big was your share of the dialogue? Did you always formulate open questions?

Seeing this data in black and white lets you to take an objective look at your own performance and will help you to improve your skills and develop as a researcher.

8. Craft better reports

Due to the additional options for evaluation, there are also new options for reporting. Make your insights more tangible by providing them with additional data.

Have you come to the conclusion that your prices are too expensive? Include a chart in your reporting that shows exactly how often users were dissatisfied with the price. Your colleagues don’t realize how critical a usability error you found is? Show them that in interviews where the error occurred, significantly more negative sentences were said than in the other interviews.

Mixing qualitative data like verbatims and video snippets, with quantitative analysis will give your reports more weight. The analysis of a transcript opens up completely new possibilities for you to prove your insights with data.

9. Store your research data in accordance with the protection of data privacy

Interview recordings can be judged as personal data (and this has not only been the case since the EU proclaimed the GDPR). This means that respondents can be identified from it, may it be through matching the face or the voice.

ESOMAR, the European market research association, recommends deleting this type of data three months after collection. If you plan to utilize previous research data, a transcript might be a viable alternative. Transcripts are generally easier to search for person-specific data than audio or video files. These data can then be removed and the research data remains without personally-identifying information.

Call to action

Transcripts offer you many opportunities to take your research to the next level, report more objectively, and also develop your own skills as a researcher.

That’s why we at consider.ly have a built-in AI-based transcription service for several languages and amount of speakers. You can try it out for free and check out for yourself if a transcript benefits your user research.

Der Beitrag 9 Reasons Why You Need Interview Transcripts In User Research erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
Being a user researcher, tools of the trade, and the future of UX – Interview with Kira Tschierschke https://consider.ly/blog/interview-with-a-user-researcher/ Mon, 16 Sep 2019 11:51:35 +0000 https://consider.ly/?p=17024 What is the best way to gain a realistic insight into a new growing professional field? Right – you ask an expert who works in this profession. That’s exactly what Dominic, our Head of Research, did. Kira Tschierschke works as a freelance user researcher and brand strategist and gives us insights into the field. She gives us a closer look at the challenges you have to contend with as a user researcher, which research method she prefers, and how she evaluates the general UX maturity in companies. We discuss this and more with Kira in the following interview. Note: The interview was conducted in German and translated into English. Dominic: Hi Kira! Please introduce yourself and say a few words about what you are doing. Kira: I’m Kira. I am a user researcher and brand strategist in the area of user experience strategy and research, as a freelancer. I’m currently working on a project that involves looking at different service offerings for an insurance company’s customers and digitally adding value. Dominic: How did you get there? Especially, how did you get to the research section? Kira: I come from brand strategy and brand strategy has a lot to do with […]

Der Beitrag Being a user researcher, tools of the trade, and the future of UX – Interview with Kira Tschierschke erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
What is the best way to gain a realistic insight into a new growing professional field? Right – you ask an expert who works in this profession. That’s exactly what Dominic, our Head of Research, did.

Kira Tschierschke works as a freelance user researcher and brand strategist and gives us insights into the field. She gives us a closer look at the challenges you have to contend with as a user researcher, which research method she prefers, and how she evaluates the general UX maturity in companies. We discuss this and more with Kira in the following interview.

Note: The interview was conducted in German and translated into English.


Dominic: Hi Kira! Please introduce yourself and say a few words about what you are doing.

Kira: I’m Kira. I am a user researcher and brand strategist in the area of user experience strategy and research, as a freelancer. I’m currently working on a project that involves looking at different service offerings for an insurance company’s customers and digitally adding value.

Dominic: How did you get there? Especially, how did you get to the research section?

Kira: I come from brand strategy and brand strategy has a lot to do with research because you first have to understand what the core of a brand is and what of it already exists in the company. I always proceeded according to the “midwife principle”. The values and the culture are already present in the company, as a midwife I simply help to bring this “brand child” into the world. This is how I came into contact with research methods very early in my career.

When I moved to fluidmobile, a studio for app development in Karlsruhe, in 2014, I was one of the first non-developers there and virtually had the users in my luggage. There I used my well-known toolset from the brand strategy to better involve the users in the development process.

Dominic: What were the tools you used there?

Kira: Mainly methods of qualitative research, because in my work as a brand strategist I have already used in-depth interviews or workshops and moderated focus groups to integrate the customers and employees of companies into the brand-building process.

Dominic: My next question would have been, what do you like better qualitatively or quantitatively – it seems that you have already answered that.

Kira: I think both methods have their absolute right to exist and I think it’s most exciting to mix both fields and use the so-called mixed methods. If, for example, I start with Qualitative Research first and then query what I found out there again quantitatively to see whether it is scalable. But I can also go about it the other way round and first get a rough quantitative overview and then dive deeper into it with qualitative research.

I have the feeling that the further I am in the project, the better I can proceed quantitatively. Especially with software products, when it comes to rolling out products or observing the adoption of different features, a quantitative approach makes more sense in any case. Then an A/B test is usually more practical than conducting individual interviews with each user.

Dominic: You said earlier that you were the first researcher to join fluidmobile. What challenges did you face back then?

Kira: When I joined fluidmobile, I wasn’t even aware that I was a user researcher. I actually came to this position to supervise and be responsible for the communicative strategic orientation of fluidmobile. That’s why I have always been in the conception and strategy role in the projects and have proceeded with the same methodologies that I have already used in the brand strategy. I wasn’t even aware at the time that the term “user research” existed. For me, however, this is also the exciting thing about user research: You can use methods from different areas such as sociology or ethnology for research.

I would say, there were no real challenges regarding research. At fluidmobile my colleagues’ understanding of research was relatively clear – precisely because we put a clear focus on user experience. But in client projects, I had to repeatedly argue the added value and the necessity of research to our clients.

For clients, research is often associated with expenses and the benefits are not clear. Then I had to make it clear that research enables us to find out much earlier in which direction we should go or what we should rather not do.

Then I had to make it clear that research enables us to find out much earlier in which direction we should go or what we should rather not do.

An approach that saves costs in the long term. This persuasion is something I have in every project – not only with fluidmobile.

Dominic: Is there an example that you would like to share where the added value of user research really became clear?

Kira: Yes, in my last project we came back from the exploration phase where we did ethnographic interviews with the company’s clients and identified different needs in the synthesis. Personas were then developed from this and we went into the ideation with jobs-to-be-done building on it. Building on these needs, we designed two prototypes, both research-based.

Based on the research we have assumed that there is a hypothesis that customers want to be informed about the current status of the process at any time. On the other hand, there was the hypothesis that clients would prefer to give this away and not be informed until the process is complete. Both hypotheses were research-based.

We then developed a prototype that was based on the hypothesis that users wanted to be informed at all times and so we went into research very early on, specifically in the click dummy prototype phase. Directly in the first usability test we did, this prototype was literally shredded by the users. There’s no other way to put it.

The test persons reported back to us: “I’m not interested in what the internal work process is like, I have the feeling that I’m doing the work of the company”.

The antithesis we had established was therefore absolutely confirmed. So we were able to put this really promising idea in the drawer at a very early stage and concentrate on other ideas and were thus much faster and closer to the customer’s added value.

Dominic: Please tell me your most favorite tool for your job.

Kira: That’s a terribly difficult question because it depends very much on the method used… I’d almost say I couldn’t do my job without “direct communication”. So it’s not a software tool at all, but rather that I talk directly with the respondents – or with the other team members – and go into an exchange. Therefore, I am not thinking directly of a tool for recording or saving research, but rather of the actual implementation of qualitative research.

Dominic: And what about the methods? Do you have a research method that you prefer?

Kira: That depends very much on what is to be found out in the respective project. Ultimately, each method is simply a tool. When I think about bringing a picture to the wall, I have different ways to do it and if I say I always use hammer and nail, then maybe this procedure isn’t helpful for every wall and every picture. Sometimes a Tesa Powerstrip might be enough.

It’s not about hammering a nail into the wall, it’s about hanging the picture. The same goes for research methods.

But what I like to do personally are ethnographic interviews or simply in-depth interviews. This gives me the feeling that I can take the test persons to where the real needs lie. Another method that I like to use is usability testing, which is specifically about a problem.

Basically it can be said that I much prefer to use moderated rather than unmoderated tests because I like to work directly with the test persons.

Dominic: You moved from Karlsruhe to Hamburg, have you noticed any differences, is research done differently in the North than in the South of Germany?

Kira: Not really. On the contrary! I work in different cities, I work together with different customers who are based in Hamburg, Berlin or America. The exciting thing is that the main features are very similar. I think it is very dependent on the UX maturity of a company. So what role does user experience play in a company? The more established user research is, the better the understanding of what user research does and can achieve.

The more established user research is, the better the understanding of what user research does and can achieve.

Companies that have never had anything to do with user research before, sometimes find it difficult to classify what research really can do.

Dominic: How can you tell how strongly user research is already anchored in a company?

Kira: On the one hand, I take a look at what research has already been done so far, and whether and which methods have been used at all.

For example, many companies have so far only carried out quantitative evaluations and not so many qualitative studies. You will notice this relatively quickly when discussing the sample size and whether there is an understanding of the way qualitative research is used. But above all, I believe it is the endurance of open thinking and impartiality in the data collection phase through to the synthesis phase that shows whether a company has already had a lot of contact with research. In companies that haven’t had much experience yet, I often notice a lot of uncertainty. A desire to immediately think in terms of solutions – but of course also accompanied by anticipation of the results. Usually, after just a few interviews, people are asked what was found out. At the same time, employees in these companies, even if all the interviews were conducted, often have the feeling that we don’t know anything yet. Then they are very surprised when after the synthesis it becomes clear how many insights could be generated.

With team members and companies who have been involved in research on a number of occasions, you simply notice a certain calm and routine in enduring the uncertainty and the so-called researcher mindset until the research process is completed.

Dominic: You’ve been a researcher for quite some time, how has research changed in this time and where is the journey going?

Kira: What strikes me is that research is becoming more and more anchored in projects and is also becoming more important – I’m very pleased about that.

Nevertheless, I think we need to make significant progress. There are always projects that only start based on hypotheses. It is often the case with such projects that a usability test is carried out at the end of the project shortly before the launch, simply so that a test was made. Unfortunately, the potential of research is then lost and in the worst case, it even feels counterproductive for the team if ideas have to be rethrown shortly before the end. At this point, I hope that the understanding of the power of research will change if it is used early in the process and continuously pursued.

At this point, I hope that the understanding of the power of research will change if it is used early in the process and continuously pursued.

I also hope that user research will not only take place in digital product development but in every product development. Even if a trade fair or celebration is being planned, potential participants might be able to discuss their needs and expectations beforehand. Often at such events, only carry out a quantitative survey to gather some feedback after the event.

I would simply like the topic of user experience to be further thought through. Ultimately, we are surrounded by experiences that shape our interaction with companies. Here I would like to bring together my background from the brand strategy with user research.

Dominic: Imagine you could abolish a certain business practice in companies, what would that be?

Kira: Companies, or rather employees of a company, should not deduce so much from themselves about others. I experience it again and again that no matter how much research has been done, in the end, the beliefs prevailing in the company get through again. The own thinking is regarded as the status quo and the needs of the customers, which were uncovered by the research, are forgotten again. Unfortunately, we can never achieve real empathy like this.

Thanks, Kira for the interview!

Der Beitrag Being a user researcher, tools of the trade, and the future of UX – Interview with Kira Tschierschke erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
How to run a lean product testing session in your community https://consider.ly/blog/product-testing-session/ Mon, 12 Aug 2019 14:18:02 +0000 https://consider.ly/?p=16823 User experience is key. To achieve great UX, you have to understand how your users experience your product. Being a member of the local community of startups and young companies we want to help others to be close and connected to their users and empower them to create great products. Thus, we share our mindset of user-centricity and proper user research. For this, we encourage them to get in touch with users and provide proper tools and best practices to enable them to continue their journey of getting to know their users on their own. We – as the team behind consider.ly – ourselves took part in many sessions of testing communities (such as usability-testessen.org). It always was a blast and we got away with tons of new valuable input for our products. Nevertheless, for our taste, the frequency of these events was too low, often booked out early, and generally, startups struggled to participate for the first time (“We’re not ready yet.”, “We don’t have something to show.”, etc.). “We’re not ready to show our product yet.” – Mostly always wrong. Being persuaded of the concept, we started our own testing sessions for the community. As organizers, we aimed […]

Der Beitrag How to run a lean product testing session in your community erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
User experience is key. To achieve great UX, you have to understand how your users experience your product. Being a member of the local community of startups and young companies we want to help others to be close and connected to their users and empower them to create great products. Thus, we share our mindset of user-centricity and proper user research. For this, we encourage them to get in touch with users and provide proper tools and best practices to enable them to continue their journey of getting to know their users on their own.

Gain valuable insights from testing your product in your community.
Gain valuable insights from testing your product in your community.

We – as the team behind consider.ly – ourselves took part in many sessions of testing communities (such as usability-testessen.org). It always was a blast and we got away with tons of new valuable input for our products. Nevertheless, for our taste, the frequency of these events was too low, often booked out early, and generally, startups struggled to participate for the first time (“We’re not ready yet.”, “We don’t have something to show.”, etc.).

“We’re not ready to show our product yet.” – Mostly always wrong.

Being persuaded of the concept, we started our own testing sessions for the community. As organizers, we aimed at a moderate effort to organize, having non-professionals as testers, and developing a setup that can easily be held monthly. And our community loves it so far. So how do we do it? In the following, we give you a detailed description of our setup, so that you can implement it in your community yourself.

Lean testing session vs. lab approach

Our goal with the lean testing sessions is to give a small but valuable glimpse of the benefits of a regular lab testing session. For sure, an event like this will not replace or try to reproduce the depth of a typical lab usability test. Still, we highly value the quick wins and accept certain tradeoffs:

  • general input over specific target group testers
  • multiple participants over long single sessions
  • simple setup over a dedicated environment

With this in mind, we organize sessions where multiple products from different companies are tested during a single event.

The lean concept for a product testing session

We brainstormed what would be the bare minimum of requirements of a testing session which provides benefits for someone who wants to get a product tested. What are the common requirements which meet the testing needs of all interested companies and products? Here’s what we came up with:

  • 12 (+3)  minutes of testing rounds
    One testing round takes 12 minutes followed by 3 minutes of re-setup and documentation.
  • 5 (different) testers at one station
    We stick to Nielsen’s rule of thumb that says that five testers find 85% of the key usability problems (which is the primary the goal here instead of learning about your exact target group).
  • 1.5h in total
    The total duration of a session sums up to 1.5h (5 slots of 15min plus 15min of setup and administration).
  • Minimum of 6 stations
    Upon invite, we ask every station to bring a tester to the event. Those testers often already know their product and thus are left out at their station. To still ensure 5 testers at one station we need a minimum of 6 stations. Then no one will have an empty slot as a tester, as a station, or visit one station twice. Due to the fact that each station brings a tester, it’s easy to handle cancellations (if the count of remaining stations is 6 or greater).
  • One location
    This event can be held at every location where you can set up small stations. So a bigger conference room or multiple connected rooms can be easily used.

Preparation and conduct cheatsheet

Organizers

  • Preparation
    • organize or book the venue
    • find 6+ stations to attend
  • On the event
    • organize the setup
    • welcome everyone and give a short introduction
    • ring the bell for every testing round
    • order pizza

Stations

  • Preparation
    • decide on which product (prototype) to test
    • prepare a short verbal intro and 2-3 tasks to solve
    • find someone who will attend as a tester
  • On the event
    • run the product testing interview
    • finish in time
    • gather and document valuable insights

Testers

  • On the event
    • on the end of a timeslot continue to the next station
    • try to solve the given tasks and articulate all observations, expectations, and experiences
The usual setup for our lean testing sessions.
The usual setup for our lean testing sessions.

The setup at the venue

Here is the breakdown of the setup for our lean product testing session:

A) Location and equipment

  • 3 chairs and 1 table per station
  • Internet via wireless LAN
  • Each station brings its own devices for its products (usually a laptop or smartphone)
  • Printed out station numbers on DIN A4 sheets. 1,2,3,4, …
  • A bell to announce the end of the slots

Note: In our experience, there is no need for a beamer or screen.

B) Stations and testers

  • Stations set up their desk on their own
  • The station number should be visible when entering or walking around the room
  • The stations should be placed in order so that the next station (next number) is easy to find for the participants
  • After a 12 min testing slot is finished the testers move on to the next station (beginning at 1 if the last station is reached) with a break of 3 minutes
Pizza and cold beverages are always very welcome on testing sessions.
Pizza and cold beverages are always very welcome on testing sessions.

C) Food and beverages

This point is optional – but a good thing to foster intense networking after the session. Our solution is to provide crates of water, juice, and beer as well as ordering pizza at a delivery service. In our experience, this results in 6-8€ per participant and overall costs of 200€ – 300€ per session, which is usually paid for by one of the participating companies or the location provider.

Best practices for organizers

    • Prepare a few sentences for opening the session.
    • Order pizza at the start of the session with a dedicated arrival time (end of the session).
    • Create a mailing list with all interested and participating teams.
    • Use the same location each time – so you know the rooms, available furniture, and general infrastructure. Kudos to our local startup network and incubator CyberLab which lets us run our testing sessions in their premises!
The location should provide enough space, so that everyone can arrange their testing station.
The location should provide enough space, so that everyone can arrange their testing station.

Feedback about our lean testing sessions

Since our first sessions, we are overwhelmed by the positive feedback from stations and testers about the learnings and live experienced interaction of users with their products. Some younger companies that we had to convince to participate for the first time immediately saw the benefits and are now promoters and regular attendees. For us, this is a huge success and motivates us to continue organizing lean product testing sessions.

Closing thoughts

As a young startup, it is a great opportunity to provide something valuable to the community and enable first contact and experiences with usability and UX.

Especially the described lean approach allows a high testing frequency and limits the effort to organize, host, and moderate the sessions. We spread the word in our local community with this lean testing session – but we’d love to see more similar events and spread of the user-centric mindset.

Feel free to adapt those ideas and concepts within your community! And if you already have your first experiences: What are your thoughts and adaptions?
Keep Testing!

Yours,
Jonas

PS: As a startup that provides the UX insights repository consider.ly, we for sure recommend every station to properly document their findings. Because all new insights, observations, and new hypothesis could be crucial for their business.

Der Beitrag How to run a lean product testing session in your community erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
How to pose questions for user research https://consider.ly/blog/how-to-pose-questions-for-user-research/ Fri, 31 May 2019 14:12:01 +0000 https://consider.ly/?p=15811 Qualitative research is the collection of non-numerical insights. Subjects are studied in their natural setting to uncover insights about their opinions, emotions, and motivation regarding a certain situation or action. This natural setting is observed by researchers who visit their participants in their given situation. But this isn’t always possible when conducting qualitative user research. It’s all about asking the right questions in qualitative research. Qualitative research conditions Usability tests and user research, in general, are often conducted in a UX lab or in some meeting room. However, researchers often try to mimic the natural setting of their product as closely as possible. E.g. by making the UX lab look like a living room or office setting. Qualitative research is also not as objective as quantitative research. To evaluate the data as thoroughly as possible, researchers usually need to interpret what the participants are saying. Because of this, researchers need to be conscious of their own opinions, positions, and biases. Read more about bias on another post on this blog.  You need to recognize that humans often only see what their background allows them to see. Researchers who already have a strong theory of what will happen may only see […]

Der Beitrag How to pose questions for user research erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
Qualitative research is the collection of non-numerical insights. Subjects are studied in their natural setting to uncover insights about their opinions, emotions, and motivation regarding a certain situation or action. This natural setting is observed by researchers who visit their participants in their given situation. But this isn’t always possible when conducting qualitative user research. It’s all about asking the right questions in qualitative research.

Qualitative research conditions

Usability tests and user research, in general, are often conducted in a UX lab or in some meeting room. However, researchers often try to mimic the natural setting of their product as closely as possible. E.g. by making the UX lab look like a living room or office setting.

Qualitative research is also not as objective as quantitative research. To evaluate the data as thoroughly as possible, researchers usually need to interpret what the participants are saying. Because of this, researchers need to be conscious of their own opinions, positions, and biases. Read more about bias on another post on this blog.  You need to recognize that humans often only see what their background allows them to see. Researchers who already have a strong theory of what will happen may only see behavior that fits this theory.

Always be self-reflected. Keep your background in mind and try to work against your biases.

Qualitative research aims to figure out what your users' reality looks like.
Qualitative research aims to figure out what your users' reality looks like.

How your users think

Contrary to quantitative research, qualitative research isn’t necessarily about what is a fact. It’s about what the people being interviewed or observed believe to be true. This also leads to a certain point of view that researchers need to adopt when interpreting the raw data. They should aim to interpret the things they discover in terms of the meanings that the people being observed bring to them. This means, in the end, your goal is to figure out how your users think things work and why they do things in the way they do them.

As a result, qualitative research gives you the “why” to your quantitative research’s “what”. This means you don’t have to figure out certain patterns in your quantitative data. But you can try to let your users answer the question of why they behave the way they do. If they aren’t able to directly answer this question, you can watch them complete a certain task and try to interpret their actions. That way you don’t have to make up your own narrative for your analytics data but can base your decisions on facts.

Defining your Field of Research

As you may have gathered from the fact that qualitative researchers try to view reality from the viewpoint of their subjects. Qualitative user research can get very complex very quickly. To make your research field less complex and more defined, it’s necessary to formulate appropriate research questions. Your research question should deal with a problem you have. When planning and conducting your research, only take a deeper look at this issue so you don’t get sidetracked. Getting sucked into a different path of research might be interesting but ultimately won’t get you very far.

Research questions serve to narrow the purpose of your research. One of the key steps for your research process: formulating a good research question. It will be the main influence on your research’s direction. Questions should be neither too broad, nor too narrow. You also have to be able to examine your question by conducting interviews or watching people interact with your product. Depending on your research question acquiring participants or gaining access to the research field can be harder or easier. This shouldn’t usually pose a problem in user research as you will generally be able to recruit participants from your user base.

Usually, every kind of (academic) research starts with consulting related literature or previous research done in your field. In academic research, this means paying the library a visit or reviewing journals. The user research equivalent of doing this would be taking a look at your teams or even better your company’s existing user-related or UX research data. This can help define the goal of your research and formulating appropriate questions as well.

Asking the right questions in qualitative research

Formulating questions for qualitative research is not as easy as it seems. And while we’ve written before, that it makes participants more comfortable if you treat the user interview more like a conversation, you still need to think about the questions you’re going to ask to get said conversation started and keep it moving in the right direction. The questions you ask are extremely important for your research process.

The first step to good questions to ask your participants is to think about what you want to get out of your interview so you don’t accidentally miss the point. Start by defining themes you want to discover information about. (E.g. “How do people behave when they try to contact a company?”).  Then you can start to break your themes down into questions you need answers to, to find out more about your themes.

Photo by Matthew Henry

Tips how to ask questions in qualitative research

  • Try to make your questions as specific as possible
  • Avoid broad, generic answers
  • Also try to keep the outcome of your question open
    e.g. “How”, “What”, “Describe”, and “Outline”
  • Avoid asking questions that start with “Why” (puts pressure in them)
  • Better: “Describe how you did X.” or “Walk me through your way of doing Y.”
  • Avoid questions that can be answered in one short sentence or with a simple yes or no
  • Avoid asking questions that influence the answer in any way. (“How motivated were you when you did Z?” as this implies that the user was motivated.
    Instead, try “What was your experience with doing Z like?”)

Extra Tip: Watch them in action! If you have to ask questions about their behavior, ask about an event or moment in the past. It helps them remember how they did a certain thing. Always give participants enough room to answer in any way they would like to. If you’re unsure whether you understand your user’s feedback correctly, paraphrase what you heard. Repeat it for them to confirm your assumption or correct you if necessary. Also try to pay attention to non-verbal cues such as facial expression, the tone of voice and their posture.

Looking for a tool to manage, analyze and evaluate your user research results?
Try consider.ly and start your 30 days free trial now!

Der Beitrag How to pose questions for user research erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
How to recruit participants for user tests https://consider.ly/blog/recruiting-user-research-participants/ Fri, 24 May 2019 12:29:07 +0000 https://consider.ly/?p=15822 When conducting user research, you will need to recruit participants that attend your usability tests, interviews, or other research methods. Recruiting participants is the basis for your research, as they provide you with the data to draw conclusions on. However, how to recruit participants properly is a research area for itself (Nielsen even wrote a 190-page report about it). How do you even recruit the right participants? How many should you invite? Should you pay them and how much is appropriate? In the following, we’ll give you an overview of this topic to prepare you for your next user testing. How should I select representative participants? The most important part of your user tests are: The users! That is why it is important to take a closer look at who you actually want to recruit. Usually, most of the usability issues can be found by any user. But depending on your product there may be some peculiarities that are only present in your specific target audience. The better your test participants match your actual target audience the better your test results will predict how your product will be perceived out in the wild. If it’s a new product you can […]

Der Beitrag How to recruit participants for user tests erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
When conducting user research, you will need to recruit participants that attend your usability tests, interviews, or other research methods. Recruiting participants is the basis for your research, as they provide you with the data to draw conclusions on. However, how to recruit participants properly is a research area for itself (Nielsen even wrote a 190-page report about it).

How do you even recruit the right participants? How many should you invite? Should you pay them and how much is appropriate? In the following, we’ll give you an overview of this topic to prepare you for your next user testing.

How should I select representative participants?

The most important part of your user tests are: The users! That is why it is important to take a closer look at who you actually want to recruit.

Usually, most of the usability issues can be found by any user. But depending on your product there may be some peculiarities that are only present in your specific target audience.

The better your test participants match your actual target audience the better your test results will predict how your product will be perceived out in the wild. If it’s a new product you can look for similar products and address their respective target audiences.

To gain a general idea of the supposed user group, try describing what the product is supposed to do. This will allow you to define the exact area of application. This is the fastest way to gain a general idea of the supposed user group. To specify the target group further, you should question different departments that possess information about the target group’s characteristics, e.g., developers, the marketing team, or employees working in customer support. In certain cases, it can be helpful to take a closer look at the user base of a competing product.

Participants can only provide you with valuable insights if they are part of your user group.
Participants can only provide you with valuable insights if they are part of your user group.

Either way, you should have a clear picture of the characteristics of your target audience, e.g., by working out a persona. This is the basis to define screening questions and also communicate your request to external recruiters.

If you can’t convey actual users to take part, make sure your participants match your actual users as closely as possible. Only real users or similar participants can discover errors in your system and discover the benefits of your product. But as always it is a trade-off between time, money, and participant quality.

How many participants should I invite for my study?

The number of participants you need to recruit for your UX research depends on two things: The used research method and on your study’s goal.

Studies that can be evaluated using statistical analysis methods usually need participant numbers in the double-digits (10 or higher). As a rule of thumb is that you can start calculating meaningful statistical significances starting at 20 participants per experimental condition. Generally speaking, you can assume that your sample size needs to be bigger if you use quantitative methods.

Why 5 is the magic number of usability testing

If you aim to do qualitative or explorative research, it doesn’t make sense to test as many participants as possible. Usually, five participants are sufficient as they should uncover 85% of the occurring usability problems in a product. With every additional participant, the added benefit decreases since they tend to repeatedly uncover the same obvious flaws. If necessary, you can run additional tests in another study or with the next iteration of your product.

Five participants uncover 85% of usability problems. ©NN/g

Smaller tasks for better data

If you’re planning to run multiple tests with one product, you should always use different groups of participants. If the usability test will take more than an hour, you should consider dividing the testing session into smaller tasks. And then test them with different groups of participants.

Obviously, you will then need more participants. But rather include more participants in your study, than trying to squeeze out every last bit of information from them.

By keeping the tasks small you avoid survey fatigue (i.e., participants becoming bored or uninterested in your study). That would lead to a quality decrease in your collected data.

How should I screen my participants?

To ensure that the participants match your target audience and no other participants sneak in, you need to screen them via a questionnaire (a.k.a. a screener). This questionnaire asks specific traits of your target audience and only lets people pass if they match your criteria.

Define the sample for your study

First, create a list of all relevant characteristics of your target group. Next, think about how many respondents in your sample should have which characteristics (e.g., you’d like to test an equal amount of women and men).

Regardless of which channel you use to recruit your participants, you still need to narrow down the part that actually represents your target audience before your study starts. For doing this, choose criteria (demographical, behavioral, or psychographical) that are specific enough to portray your target group. On the other hand, don’t choose the criteria too specifically, since then it may be difficult to find participants at all.

You shall not pass!

Obviously, you should ask your participants the screening questions before you allow them to sign up for your user test. E.g. you can use some kind of online form (like Google Forms) to let participants sign up for your test (after filling out your screener).

In your screener, you should ask the questions that will filter out the most participants first. Stop the screening process as soon as participants answer a question in a way that shows they don’t fit your target group. (Read here, how to write screener surveys to capture the right participants). That way people don’t have to go through the hassle of filling out the whole questionnaire just to be excluded from taking part in your test.

Screeners are used to excluding participants that don’t match your criteria.
Screeners are used to excluding participants that don’t match your criteria.

Don’t make it obvious for the participants

Especially if you’re employing remote tests and paying your participants, there will be a great number of people who are up to taking part in your test (whether they match your target group or not). Because of this, you should try to phrase your questions in a way that doesn’t make it obvious to participants which characteristics you’re looking for.

If you want to include or exclude a specific trait or industry, do not ask for that in specific. Instead, give more options to choose from. For example, if you’d like to include participants that work in automotive, do not ask: “Are your working in the automotive sector? Yes/No”. Instead ask: “In which Sector are you working? (choose one): Finance, Service, Automotive, …”.

Check for the ability to articulate

Ask one open-ended question to see how your participants can articulate themselves. That doesn’t necessarily have to do with your research goal. Let them describe their favorite web page or ask them about their favorite movie and why they like it. Note that this, of course, can also bias your research. Maybe your target audience is rather introverted. Then this question would sort out a lot of them. Nevertheless, it is usually better to have a test person in the test who can open up and articulate her experiences and problems.

How should I incentivize participants?

Usually, participants in research studies are incentivized simply by a certain amount of money. That should cover their travel expenditure (normally when they need to come to your lab) and reward their time. Consequently, lab studies will cost more than remote tests and longer studies require higher incentives. Also, anticipate that high earners will expect more money than low earners.

Motivate participants the right way

Paying participants for their attendance is not without critique in the research community and might even raise ethics questions. Make sure that it’s clear that participants can always withdraw from the research and still receive payment. No persuasion or pressure of any kind should be put on your participants.

Offer adequate incentives to get enough participants for your user test
Offer adequate incentives to get enough participants for your user test

When deciding what to use as an incentive you can choose every kind of compensation for the time invested. As long as it’s attractive to your participants. Vouchers and of course money are some of the most used incentives. Otherwise, depending on your target group, you might find better incentives like giving away merchandise, donating to charity, planting a tree, and so on.

How much is enough? It depends

Sometimes, participants need to take a day off to take part in your study. They, of course, should be compensated in a way that results in them not ending up with a loss. That way incentives can add up quickly (and we all know that research budgets are limited).

Incentives for participants that take part in your tests remotely are considerably cheaper. Still, you need to keep in mind that incentives need to be higher for target groups that are hard to reach and will depend on their socio-economic status.

Also, you need to be more generous when compensating participants for studies that take longer or contain more difficult tasks.

Lastly, besides monetary compensation, always thank your participants for their time and input!

Channels for recruiting participants

  • Recruitment agencies and services: Working with agencies, panels, or other recruiting services is especially useful if you want to test with a very broad target group or under time constraints.
  • Email lists: Often you already have a mailing list containing people with the characteristics you’re looking for. For example, a list of existing users of a similar or previous version of the product you’re testing.
  • People who are close to your company can be recruited via pop-ups on your website, making announcements on your company’s social media pages, or via your newsletter.
  • Other ways to address external participants are online ads in search engines and social media channels. Also, you look for participants in (online) special interest groups, like Facebook groups or Slack communities, that are tied to your target audience.

Even if you do your best to recruit the right participants and offer them attractive incentives you have to anticipate that about 10% of your participants will not provide you with usable data. Speaking from experience, this problem especially arises in remote tests, where a great number of people won’t finish your test. Therefore, you should recruit additional participants from the get-go. Or at least as soon as you realize that you won’t be able to collect enough data.

Streamline your participant recruitment

Having a structured recruitment process makes your research more efficient. If you recruit efficiently, you’ll be able to invest the time and resources you saved into running more tests and choosing participants more selectively. Both will (to some degree) positively influence the quality of your collected data.

Regardless of whether you’re recruiting by yourself or via an agency, don’t forget to document the whole process. This gives you a playbook for the next time and also helps colleagues to support you with it.

Recruiting participants by yourself

Recruiting participants by yourself can be quite challenging, depending on your target audience.

If you have people using your product, you can just drop them an email and ask them if they would like to take part in your research. If you want to target non-users or potential users of your product, you have to investigate where to find them. For easy to reach target audiences, you can go online, place some Facebook ads, or ask friends and family. If you want to have more specialized participants it can help to head for special interest forums or online communities that reflect your target audience.

After you found your test participants you should ask them for consent to put them on your own internal participant list. This way you can build up your very own panel of participants to contact if you want to do research again. However, keep in mind that you will scare them off if you contact them too often.

Sometimes there are hard to reach participants (like dentists or Lamborghini drivers) and depending on your product it can be more cost- and time-efficient to use a specialized recruiting service.

Recruiting participants via an agency

You want to recruit participants via a specialized agency and let others do the hard work. Great! But even then, there are some pitfalls to avoid and processes to streamline.

Before contacting an agency, make sure you have an exact description of your desired test user. Then think about with which questions you could target these people. You don’t have to use a questionnaire tool for that, for now, it is enough if you just write it up in a document.

If you want to target iPhone users who go to university, this could be an example questionnaire.
If you want to target iPhone users who go to university, this could be an example questionnaire.

Then highlight the desired answers that your participants should give, in order to qualify for your research. You can also give quotas, to signal the panel how much of each participant group you want in your research (for example if you want 30% of your participants to be male). This will be a rather big one-time effort, but it will help you in the future for similar research tasks. Save this questionnaire as a template and just change the parameters for future recruiting if needed.

After the questionnaire is done, you can email it to an agency or a panel. They will let you know how much the recruitment will cost. More and more agencies have online calculators that let you choose your desired audience without sending them a screener. You should always request several panels for a quote and compare their prices, as they often are specialized in different fields.

After every research, document who provided you with which target audience to which price (and note their contact email address). When you are ready to recruit again, you can simply send requests to the respective agencies. Luckily, you won’t have to search much longer. Furthermore, this will help you in better planning your budget.

Bonus: Managing qualitative data

Once you collected data from your participants, it’s advisable to have a system to analyze, manage, and store your data. With consider.ly we’ve built a tool to assist you in transcribing interviews, tagging your data, and to help you spot patterns easily.

Der Beitrag How to recruit participants for user tests erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
Customer Insights Management https://consider.ly/blog/customer-insights-managment/ Fri, 17 May 2019 08:28:14 +0000 https://consider.ly/?p=15817 Knowing your user’s opinions as well as specific characteristics is important for many different departments within a company. Most companies make decisions that directly influence their customers on a daily basis. Such decisions are made during product development, when planning how to address users, during the sales process or while planning a marketing strategy with appropriate content. Regardless of their area of work, teams should always be aware of the effects of their activities on customers. During these processes, the focus on the users’ point of view often gets lost. This problem is usually not rooted in missing information about the target group as user research or first surveys and interviews have usually already taken place at this point in time. The problem lies in the evaluation, organization, and storage of said data as well as the connection of insights that have been discovered. Solving this problem with Customer Insights Management Customer Insights Management or Customer Information Management describes the collection, processing, analysis, and interpretation of information concerning the customer group. This information includes consumer behavior, wishes, needs, motivation and opinions that your users have. Customer Insights Management assumes, that nobody can answer questions such as “Why are our sales […]

Der Beitrag Customer Insights Management erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
Knowing your user’s opinions as well as specific characteristics is important for many different departments within a company. Most companies make decisions that directly influence their customers on a daily basis. Such decisions are made during product development, when planning how to address users, during the sales process or while planning a marketing strategy with appropriate content. Regardless of their area of work, teams should always be aware of the effects of their activities on customers.

During these processes, the focus on the users’ point of view often gets lost. This problem is usually not rooted in missing information about the target group as user research or first surveys and interviews have usually already taken place at this point in time. The problem lies in the evaluation, organization, and storage of said data as well as the connection of insights that have been discovered.

Solving this problem with Customer Insights Management

Customer Insights Management or Customer Information Management describes the collection, processing, analysis, and interpretation of information concerning the customer group. This information includes consumer behavior, wishes, needs, motivation and opinions that your users have.

Customer Insights Management assumes, that nobody can answer questions such as “Why are our sales numbers receding” as well as users themselves. Other conclusions that can be drawn from customer data can give you insight into potentials for your future product development. E.g. “Does my product satisfy users’ needs?” “Which weaknesses do users see in my product?” “Which features are users willing to pay for?”. As a matter of fact, more features aren’t always better. Because of this, companies that are user-oriented should know exactly what their users want and skip implementing unnecessary extras.

On top of that, users aren’t only influenced by decisions that directly influence the product you’re developing for them. Insights regarding your users you’ve made should also find their way into the marketing and customer relations management departments. Customer insights can do more for you than ensuring the product you’re offering fits users’ needs. It can also help you to individualize the way you’re addressing your users. While the most simple step is always to address your users with their name, you can also start to provide them only with information that is directly relevant to their situation at that moment. Doing this can increase customer retention as well as conversion.

Good Management for Maximum Results

Information regarding your users is the key component for defining successful products and strategies but at which point in the process do you start managing your data? We already discussed the fact that user-related data is usually available in some form-sometimes even in great amounts. The problem is that simply having the data won’t get you very far if you can’t find a way to evaluate and manage them efficiently. Evaluating data manually can take up a lot of your time and if you’re lacking resources you simply won’t have the time to evaluate your data deeply.

One solution to this problem is getting help during the evaluation process. Standardized quantitative tests and evaluation methods can sometimes be automatized and ideally, certain patterns within your data should also be recognized by AI. When it comes to evaluating qualitative user research data, researchers have to do a lot of manual work, as this is a process that researchers are usually very involved in. However, you can also use tools that help you with tagging and organizing your qualitative data.

Organizing your data in a uniform way will make your work easier.

Having evaluated your data you should try to save your results and insights at one central location. That way you can make sure that your results won’t get lost. On top of that, you’ll be able to keep an overview of all of your insights and will be able to directly compare data gathered during different studies. Different results from different product phases can be connected directly that way. Even data that is a byproduct of different (marketing) activities can be added and used. Having a comprehensive dataset as your basis, gaps in your company’s knowledge will become obvious. Use additional research in a strategic way to close them.

Communicating Customer Information with Purpose

Knowledge that isn’t relevant to the recipient is usually ignored and as a result worthless. Still, every stakeholder who makes decisions that will influence customers and the market has to be supplied with relevant information. Consequently, the goal isn’t to provide decision-makers with as many decisions as possible but providing them with information that is as relevant as possible.

The first step in this direction is getting all departments up to date concerning the definition of relevant market segments, customers, brands and products. Having built a solid basis for a consistent communication strategy, you should focus on passing relevant information on to decision-makers.

Companies shouldn’t feel like they possess an unmanageable amount of data while still not really knowing anything about their customers. Instead, they should start to process and manage customer insights and information regarding their users in a meaningful way. That way decision processes are more transparent and backed by information. Resources needed for research are reduced as you’ll spend less time doing duplicate work while your understanding of your customer base is increased. In the long run, this will satisfy your users needs more efficiently and increase your revenue.

You want to start organizing and evaluating your data? Use consider.ly to tag data uncover new insights and connect the dots. Start your 30 days free trial now!

Der Beitrag Customer Insights Management erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
How to run User Interviews https://consider.ly/blog/user-interviews/ Fri, 10 May 2019 12:29:25 +0000 https://consider.ly/?p=15798 User interviews are a very popular method of user research. They can easily be run in combination with other tests and are applicable in a number of situations. However, you need to keep in mind that there are things an interview can do and just as many things that an interview can’t do. So only use interviews in the appropriate situations. As they are quickly conducted after other types of research, you can use interviews to enrichen existing data that you gathered with user tests by using them after usability tests to collect answers to questions that arose during the tests. Interviews are also very well fit to get a general overview of a topic. In this case, you’re running exploratory interviews: you’re asking a series of very general and open questions to get a feeling of an area you might not be well informed about. One major advantage of interviews is that they can be run very quickly. There are different kinds of interviews you can conduct: structured interviews adhere strictly to a given set of questions that you decided to use before you started the interview. Unstructured interviews give interviewees the opportunity to freely tell you how they […]

Der Beitrag How to run User Interviews erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
User interviews are a very popular method of user research. They can easily be run in combination with other tests and are applicable in a number of situations. However, you need to keep in mind that there are things an interview can do and just as many things that an interview can’t do. So only use interviews in the appropriate situations.

As they are quickly conducted after other types of research, you can use interviews to enrichen existing data that you gathered with user tests by using them after usability tests to collect answers to questions that arose during the tests. Interviews are also very well fit to get a general overview of a topic. In this case, you’re running exploratory interviews: you’re asking a series of very general and open questions to get a feeling of an area you might not be well informed about.

watch
One major advantage of interviews is that they can be run very quickly.

There are different kinds of interviews you can conduct: structured interviews adhere strictly to a given set of questions that you decided to use before you started the interview. Unstructured interviews give interviewees the opportunity to freely tell you how they feel about a certain topic. Unstructured interviews are right at the intersection of those two interview types. You’re thinking of a set of questions you need answers to but let users answer them freely. It is also possible for the interviewer to change the direction of the interview while they are doing the interview. If the interviewee says something particularly interesting, the interviewer may follow this thought by asking appropriate follow-up questions.

Semi-structured interviews are usually the preferred mode of interviewing participants as they allow interviewers to generate new ideas based on what the interviewee said. They give participants room to answer freely while at the same time avoiding the problems of completely unstructured interviews (they are hard to evaluate while it’s easy to lose track of what you wanted to find out in the first place.

Semi-structured interviews are a great way to supplement existing data, inform personas or user journeys and gain a general understanding of research areas. In general, you should use an interview if your research question or problem doesn’t need a direct answer but rather further exploration or if you want to find out how others relate to a certain topic. However, as has already been stated above, there’re also times at which an interview isn’t the research method you should prefer.

When and how not to use interviews

In general, you shouldn’t use interviews to gather data about users behavior or the way they actually use products. If you ask your users about past interactions they had with a product or how they used a certain product a certain problem arises: if they can’t really remember how they did it, they won’t be aware of that fact as the human brain tends to fill in forgotten details like this with made-up details that make sense to us. Because of this questioning users’ past behavior will probably result in inaccurate information and may even result in an answer that has been unconsciously rationalized by the person you’re questioning.

You shouldn’t ask users how they will use a certain product in the future or how they are planning to use certain products. They probably won’t be able to imagine how they would use a product–especially based on a prototype or description alone. Also, users are not designers. While capturing their opinions and experiences is certainly helpful, having them create their ideal product or suggest ways to improve an existing product will most likely not get you very far. Simply asking them for their opinion won’t help you make design choices such as what color of button works best, where to put elements etc. If you want help designing or improving an interface, have users interact with a prototype.

During interviews, users can only give you accurate information concerning the present. Therefore interviews are useful for assessing users’ attitudes towards a product right after they used it. If you absolutely have to ask them about past interactions, try using the “critical incident” method: ask users about a time when something worked especially well or didn’t work at all and frustrated them. Extreme cases are remembered better.

Interviews are easy to conduct and can add valuable data to your existing research results. Doing them can give you valuable insights and pointer for new directions of research. You shouldn’t, however, rely on interviews as your only way of user testing.

How to conduct interviews

If you plan to run a semistructured interview, think about what your research question is before you start conducting the interview. Based on this research question think of a number of questions you can ask your participants, that may help you answer your initial question. Use this set of questions as a general guideline during your interviews but try to always stay open-minded.

Treat interviews like regular conversations to make everyone feel comfortable.

Try to look at the situation more like it’s a conversation between you and the participant and less like it’s an interview, you will uncover new insights and your opponent will feel more human. If you can, use your questions to get the conversation started and to give the interviewee a general guideline of what you want to talk about. To uncover the bigger picture try asking as many follow-up questions as possible. Asking users what they like or dislike, always ask why they like or dislike whatever they mentioned. This will either lead to them going into greater detail. This will give you valuable insight and can also indicate how important this issue is to them.

In case you’re asking for opinions, don’t force opinions that don’t exist. When asked for their opinion on a certain topic, humans will come up with an answer, even if they don’t really care about the topic at hand. Always give them the possiblity to say that they don’t really have an opinion on the given topic. Keeping your prompts as open as possible will give participants the ability to answer freely. It will help them realize that their opinion truly matters to you and they aren’t reduced to numbers. If you have trouble evaluating these very open kinds of questions try doing a thematic analysis.

Always try to set a casual atmosphere and make your interview partners feel at ease. Start your interview by greeting the interviewee with their name, explain why you’re interviewing them and provide them with some context. If there’re other people/researchers present with you, introduce them as well. Tell your participants that you’re grateful for their participation and that their opinions are valuable to you and your team. Give them the opportunity to ask any questions they might have and start the interview with some easy “warm-up” questions.

Sometimes it’s good to ask questions even if you think you know the answer to those questions. During the interview, ask open-ended questions, avoid leading questions and don’t interrupt or correct your participants. If you feel like your participants start talking about irrelevant things, don’t block them immediately. Maybe your dialogue partner specifically wants to tell you something. Also interrupting someone is rude and you might gain some important information from letting them talk freely. Only try to gently get them back on track if they stray too far from the important topic.

If possible, try to conduct your interviews in person: remote interviews are generally finished more quickly: if you use questionnaires, answers to open-ended questions tend to be very short or non-existent. If you do interviews via phone, people will give you shorter answers than they would in person, agree more easily and lose patience with the interview situation more quickly. If you don’t rush your participants ask questions that show you are interested in their problems and listen closely and actively, you’re sure to gain some valuable insights to add to the data gathered during user tests.

Not sure how to combine the data you gathered in user tests with qualitative interviews? Try consider.ly to connect your insights! Start your 30 days free trial now!

Der Beitrag How to run User Interviews erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
Designing with Data https://consider.ly/blog/design-with-data/ Fri, 03 May 2019 12:12:28 +0000 https://consider.ly/?p=15791 The design of new products needs to be based and some kind of idea or starting point that teams can base their work on. This starting point can be based on heuristics and guidelines as well as previous versions of a product or existing designs. If you want to start your process in a more user-centered way, you can also use user-related data, information, and knowledge as the starting point that informs your design choices. If you chose this approach you’re doing data-driven design–with the end goal of helping users of the product you’re developing to understand the purpose of the product and how it works. That way, you can make sure the product fits users preferences, expectations, goals, and needs. As a result, the user experience of your product will most likely be a pleasant, seamless one. Reasons for data-driven design There are always multiple stakeholders who influence the design and development process of products as well as their usability and UX. Naturally, there will be different expectations about the product’s features. While your initial impulse might be pleasing higher-ups and investors by designing the product in the way they expect it to be, your first priority should always […]

Der Beitrag Designing with Data erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>
The design of new products needs to be based and some kind of idea or starting point that teams can base their work on. This starting point can be based on heuristics and guidelines as well as previous versions of a product or existing designs. If you want to start your process in a more user-centered way, you can also use user-related data, information, and knowledge as the starting point that informs your design choices. If you chose this approach you’re doing data-driven design–with the end goal of helping users of the product you’re developing to understand the purpose of the product and how it works. That way, you can make sure the product fits users preferences, expectations, goals, and needs. As a result, the user experience of your product will most likely be a pleasant, seamless one.

Reasons for data-driven design

There are always multiple stakeholders who influence the design and development process of products as well as their usability and UX. Naturally, there will be different expectations about the product’s features. While your initial impulse might be pleasing higher-ups and investors by designing the product in the way they expect it to be, your first priority should always be the product’s end-user. Users who have an efficient, smooth experience while using the product, are much more likely to continue using it or to recommend it to colleagues and friends. As a result, you can expect an increase in sales which should satisfy most other stakeholders besides your users.

Base assumptions about your users on facts using data.

Figuring out, whether your team is moving in the right direction and really making process towards reaching your goal also becomes easier when you use data. On top of that, data helps you understand the pain points your users encounter during their journey, new patterns and trends that arise as well as opportunities for the future. Observing users’ behavior helps you to get to know them more intimately and to understand the reasons they have for certain behavior. Research will provide you with insights that are based on facts and will help you make informed decisions to improve your design.

Start your data-driven design process

We have elaborated this in a previous blog post: you are very likely to already own a certain amount of user-related data even if you don’t think you do. While data is often gathered specifically for the purpose of improving your design using surveys or user tests, you can as well employ data that results from website analytics or is stored in your existing database. Website visitors and users leave behind a trail of information, which you can use to sharpen your knowledge of your target group and create a more compelling design by making it more tailored. Start this process by gathering existing data as well as website analytics and improve personas you might already have by analyzing said data.

These personas can, for example, be used to choose participants for user tests and surveys which in turn results in more data. That way you can add more depth to your data sets and iterate your products, improving their design. Existing data can also be analyzed with the goal of uncovering gaps in your knowledge that need to be closed. Once you identify missing information, try systematically to close them by conducting appropriate research. You can also combine quantitative and qualitative data. Combining all these different kinds of data is certainly a lot of work but well worth it as it will give you enriched, deeper insights into your users’ thought processes.

Benefits of data-driven design

Quantitative data which is used to measure users behavior using scales and numbers and qualitative data, which gives you an idea of the reasons behind users actions, each have their strengths and weaknesses. If you want to build truly great products that have a compelling UX, you will most likely have to employ both types of research. First ideas and the basis of design are often rooted in instinct. Data will help you to grasp why things are the way they are. They will also help you to justify your decisions in case they are questioned by stakeholders. On top of that basing your design on facts you know about your user base, you will eliminate difficulties in predicting what your users need or want. The more different designers and users are, the more difficult this becomes. Even though the assumptions that users don’t really know what they need exists, oftentimes users actually know very well what they expect a product to do. Sometimes there are already similar products to what you plan to design available to your target group. In this case, users who already used these products will most likely have certain expectations for your product. So do user testing and let users tell or show you what they want and need.

Don’t guess what your users need, use data to be certain.

Connecting data analysis and facts with creativity may sound counter-intuitive. However, insights concerning your users can help you and your team to generate new ideas and move in a new direction past best practices. Use insights to challenge existing assumptions and gain courage (and back-up) to ignore or modify best practices. Guidelines as well as design rules are useful depending on the circumstances and are also based on facts. Still is you follow them blindly you risk designing a product that is very average and hard to distinguish from comparable products. Design easier to use, more effective products by starting with the user and designing the most pleasant user experience you possibly can. Problems can be solved more efficiently if you are informed about users’ wants and needs. In case you need to justify or explain why you deviated from common guidelines, employ the data you used to come to that decision.

Stop guessing

Combine user research and data analysis with the work of designers and UX professionals to eliminate the majority of the guesswork during product design. Design guidelines, heuristics, and established principles are used when designers or developers don’t know where to start their work. While they are widely accepted and used, as soon as your target group becomes very specific these guides are not a whole lot better than simply guessing. If you want to give your design process a clear direction try to understand users motivations, behavioral patterns, and context.

If you are unable to conduct specific surveys or user tests, use data you already have to get a first idea. That way you can start designing products to better fit users’ needs before you even did your first “real” user test. Working in a data-driven way doesn’t only make your design process more user-centered but also more efficient by making sure you design for your users from the very beginning.

You collected all your data but are still looking for an efficient way to evaluate it?
Try consider.ly – Get your 30 days free trial now!

Der Beitrag Designing with Data erschien zuerst auf consider.ly.

]]>