Qualitative UX Research
The most valid, helpful data you can collect about your users is to observe and interview them in their home, work, car or wherever they use your product. This technique is also referred to as in-context research or ethnography. In-context observation consistently yields surprising and exciting insights that can turn a good product into the next great trend.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could quickly find out if your product or service has any serious user experience issues or if there are easy design changes that would give you the most usability bang for your buck? This technique does just that. A usability review is a fast, inexpensive way to identify user experience issues that will decrease your users’ ability to use, benefit from and enjoy your product. This is a technique we commonly use with our start-up and small business clients who need a fast, inexpensive solution. Budget sensitive
Journal or video diary studies are the next best thing to being there with your user. Users are asked to record their interactions, observations, and comments in real time as they use your product or perform tasks of interest. Budget sensitive
Traditionally a market research technique, focus groups can also be incredibly helpful tool for gaining insight about user’s reactions to new or existing products. By understanding confusions, misunderstandings and any pre-conceived ideas users have about your product, the product design, marketing, and branding can react accordingly.
Card sorting is the most popular form of cognitive modeling methodologies which are concerned with understanding how users think about information. Card sorting data is most commonly used to help build an intuitive information architecture or to organize long lists of information on a page or in a navigation system.
Understanding the tasks users must perform and the situation in which the tasks are performed is crucial when specifying a product’s features and creating its design. Task analysis should be based on interviews with end users and observations of users performing their work in context. The final analysis lists each task the product will support , the associated steps needed for task completion, step inputs and outputs, and the surrounding context in which the task is performed.
User Scenario Development
User scenarios are a powerful tool for transforming the understanding gained from user research into actionable product requirements. Our favorite format for scenarios it to create very short story lines that include a Stakeholder (user type) in a Situation (context) who has a Need. Once all the needs are known, a method for addressing them (e.g. a product Feature) can be determined in the innovation and requirements phases.
Personas are descriptions of target user groups. Once user groups are determined through user and market research, a persona is created for each group. A persona captures the essence of the user group by describing a single, typical user from the group. A well written persona allows the product team to clearly identify with the user and his or her goals. This identification inspires innovation and an insightful product design.