Ok Great! You have a product in place with some dope design that Sharma Aunty finds hip! But your product caters to 20-somethings and male population… Oops, now where did you skip the bus? Yes, it is the User Research part that you have missed!
What is this User Research and why is it SO Important?
“In a Business devoted to the people who use our products and services, Research is the absolute. We wonder. We ask people questions. We try to stand in the shoes of our target audience and then iteratively test our data throughout the designing process.” — Anushree Sharma, Product Manager at POPxo.
Repetition of sequence of operations yields upshots successively closer to the desired result.
Imagine that this is what you know about me-
I am a 20-year old college going girl. I own a Mac Book Air and an i-Phone 5s on which I’m constantly reading articles on Medium. I tweet and blog actively about saving animals from cruelty and breaking-free from the patriarchal society. I have a dog named Thunder. And my idea of fun is a weekend getaway with my girls like they show in “Sex and the City” (courtesy — Instagram).
We can discern abundant amount of information about a customer through this data centered on what they do and when they do it. But why they do it and how can we help them do things better is the key question. We need more perspective.
User Research helps us understand people’s lives in a better way to transform their needs into products.
“It helps us to avoid biases because we are constantly in the process of creating solutions for many personality types”, she remarked.
Why is User Research Important?
Many in the industry think it’s a waste of time and money without realizing that Research builds the ground work for the product. It affects your entire strategy, from idea conception to the final product. It saves an organization from product failure in the market.
The doodles below (by Naintara Land — a User Researcher for GDS UK) illustrate some of the reasons why we do user research.
A research makes a design better and our goal is to create products that people want to use.
The stages to User Research-
- User Survey
Surveys and Questionnaires are easy way to load huge amount of data. A researcher can create survey using tools like Wufoo, email it and receive valuable response.
POPxo during induction figured out where the women get uncomfortable asking questions. They realized it was mostly due to the fear of being judged. So they covered this gap by building a Women-only online community.
2. One-on-one User Interview
This is a tried and tested method of communication between a researcher and a user. The interview can be-
· Q & A type
· Conversation type where mostly Interviewee does the talking
· Observation based in “natural habitats of the user”
Due to the personal interaction individual concerns and misunderstandings can be directly adressed and cleared. Non-verbal cues and body language are a bonus here!
Another way is the Focus Group. These are participatory groups that are led through discussion activities to collect data on a product or service.
3. Key Trends
Product Analysis — Every product is designed in a definite manner. An analysis helps us understand the important materials, economic and aesthetic decisions which are required for the building of a product or service.
Why Persona Mapping?
A User Persona is an imaginary representation of an ideal customer. It is based on User Research and includes the needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns of the target audience.
Example- Anushree spoke to 6 girls of different ages, living in different cities, having different needs, different struggles and pressures in their lives.
“When you talk to more girls, you end up having more knowledge about the first girl”, she said.
4. User Testing
User Stories- When you have an idea of who might use your product, it’s time to figure out how they might use your product. It helps to design a smooth flow of your product. Identify what is the User’s CTA.
Here it is a good idea to build your Minimum Viable Product.
POPxo gives scores and badges to the people who answer questions on the forum!
Popular methods are-
· First-click testing
· Heat Mapping
· Card Sorting
· Web analytics
Focus your attention to why the Users are leaving your site. Use heat maps and check for patterns. This MUST be continuous in nature. You have to keep building data for future. Send your loyal customers emails for building a personal interaction.
5. Final UI/UX
· A product manager should never run an engineering team!
· Make multiple versions of User Interface.
· Trust the 5-sec rule:
. Show the User a design for 5 seconds. Then ask them to recall the design. Something a User cannot recall is a problem; you must alter the design.
· Keep iterating! Combine iterations and embrace your final design.
· Have something like a Loyalty Program for your Super Users (freebies, vouchers etc.)
· Convert your Mediocre Users to Super Users.
Example- Can you manage a “WOW” moment from them when they use a product?
· The aim to target the diaspora.
· Keep designing ads (product design) and post on Facebook. See how people are reacting to your ads. Build your product based on these ads.
User Research Designs are about Experiences, NOT Deliverables.
Source credits — User Analysis Before Diving Into Design
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