Why user research is important? Understanding the behaviour, preferences, feelings of the users has always been the dream of user experience researchers. Are users enjoying experience with the brand? Are they frustrated and overwhelmed by heavy text and million of messages and pop-ups? Are they willing to buy something or they visit your web or app for inspiration? Are they feeling engaged and they love your brand? Or maybe they like the product, but they switch to your competitors because of the poor digital experience that you provide? Understanding your users can help you optimize specific aspects of the experience and create a “wow” effect ! Wow effect normally leads to loyalty, sales, engagement, WOM, thousands of shares and recognition.
Importance of User Research
Nowadays providing an outstanding product is not enough, you need to drive emotions, make people love, admire your brand, put them in the center of your strategy and make them see themselves in your messages, make people laugh, cry, but they shouldn’t stay sceptical about you.
STAY ON THE SAME PAGE WITH YOUR TARGET
Building a user-centered design requires a deep understanding of consumer experience, which can be only achieved through an in-depth research process before building the first product prototype or move forward with your idea. What you think is revolutionary idea, which will change the world may seem useless product for others. What you think is beautiful, creative and easy to use, for others may be ugly and difficult to understand. You and your team live your idea, live your product and that means that you know what you are talking about, but others may be completely lost entering your home page. Test, ask people about their opinion, don’t move without your target’s approval and feedback!
How do you know that you are creating the right user flow? How do you know that CTA buttons are in the right place ? How do you know what people like the most about your product and what they really hate ? These years companies are switching to Agile methodologies and they work with MVP and in order to add new functionalities which will add value, you need to speak with your audience and ask them about how they feel about it.
User Research focuses on understanding user behaviours, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies. The aim of this research is to improve the usability of a product by incorporating research results to guide the design, development, and refinement of a product.
User research is an iterative, cyclical process in which observation identifies a problem for which solutions are proposed. From these proposals, design solutions are prototyped and then tested with the target user group. This process is repeated as many times as necessary to finally come up with an awesome product.
LISTEN TO YOUR USERS, NO ASSUMPTIONS
With no data, insight or feedback, many companies fall back on assumptions and this is the enemy of a good design. Many people think that they can claim something on behalf of their users, saying “as a user..” and this is a very big mistake that can lead to failure. More than 50% of startups fail because of this reason. Researchers can spend several days and weeks collecting data, conducting interviews or running user testing in order to ultimately identify valuable insights, but you know what? It’s worth it, because at the end you will launch your product that would satisfy the needs of your target and you will know for sure that that is exactly what they wanted!
DO IT RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING
If you design your product right from the beginning, there will be no need to waste your time and money on redoing it, you always grow, adding new functionalities according to the business model and customer’s demand.
DO IT FREQUENTLY & INVEST
Increasingly, UX is being seen as a source of business advantage, competitive advantage. In 2015 it was clearly seen the growth in the types of testing and strategies used, as larger investments in UX design are becoming more common in every sector and every company regardless of the size. In 2014, the largest segment was the $1 to $500 UX research budget range. In 2015, the largest was $1,001 to $5,500. There were increases in all ranges above $500 and decreases in all ranges below $500. This year, we saw a rise in more frequent testing. The percentage of respondents who ran tests daily doubled from 2014 to 2015. The number of professionals who ran tests weekly increased moderately while those who ran tests monthly or less frequently decreased. In 2016 according to the usertesting research, the budget and frequency will be only increasing.
FOLLOW THE TREND
Gartner identified “ambient user experience” as one of the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2016.
It’s a great time to be a UX professional. People gain more responsibility within digital teams and higher profiles within corporate structures as user experience is seen as a necessity and “must do” rather than “good to have.” This means companies of all shapes and sizes will soon have at least one professional in charge of user experience of its products and services or hire outsourcing company, which is specialized in UX design and research.
DON’T BELIEVE ME? BELIEVE UBER !
I just want to share with you quote of experience designers at Uber to show you that big companies find user research essential for their success “Do it early and often. When we are building products at Uber, usability and visual design helps shape the product’s story. Testing at different stages helps us refine the story by uncovering user motivations, behaviours, as well as validating the assumptions we make during the creation process.”
STOP, VALIDATE AND REFINE
Don’t think that user testing should be lengthy, complicated or formal. Not necessarily, it depends on your goals, the important thing is to stop, validate and refine before moving forward.
Here comes another quote of Uber which proves my words: “When we were re-imagining the Uber app, we performed a lot of informal testing by asking family, friends, colleagues to perform specific tasks for key scenarios. From signing up and requesting a car to adding/removing a credit card, we were able to surface user motivations and behaviors by asking them to talk through what they saw and expected as they navigated through the experience.” – Shalin Amin, Head of Experience Design, Uber.
MAKE IT SIMPLE
Now with millions of messages, adds and competitors you can’t afford yourself just being OK or ignore your target’s feelings! If a website or app is difficult to use, people leave and where they go? Yes, to your competitors! Will they come back and give you a second chance? To be honest, don’t think so! If the homepage fails to clearly state what a company offers and what users can do on the site, people leave. If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. It influences conversion rate as if a client can’t find product or service he is interested in easily and fast, he won’t click the button “ buy” or “ contact”. User experience also influences employees productivity, they waste time being lost on your intranet, it is your money you waste by paying them to be at work without getting work done. World is going towards simplicity, the simpler your product is, the better!
This topic is very important and therefore I decided to write 2 more articles about it regarding benefits of user research, tools, methods and tips.