You can’t build a UX which users will love without having those users in mind. Or taking competitors into account. Or not understanding the user journey. Let alone without knowing what it is the stakeholders wanted in the first place. That’s why we offer in-depth UX research services.
In other words, UX research is a strong foundation for your future product, the knowledge you and we return during the whole development process (yes, including back-end end front-end developers). When we design a web application we can’t rely on our or someone feelings, so all design decisions must be based on some part of the research.
Before we jump into the process, we would like to emphasize that this process isn’t something sacred. Of course, for each project we select the most suitable steps and mix techniques to gain the best result.
So, here’s how we do it:
We talk to the stakeholders
Stakeholders are the main source of domain expertise which we complement with our design expertise. Interviewing the stakeholders of the project helps us understand business needs better, build approach while considering those needs. This is mainly how we get information on the product market/niche, users, strategy, etc.
We ask stakeholders to describe projects in details, their business goals, their target audience and their needs. We talk about competitors, markets and many other things that give us full understanding about the project and let us start to plan future user experience.
We research the competitors
This helps us to see how your product is doing on the market and how it performs against competitor products. Competitive evaluation also allows defining the best improvement and development vectors for your product.
Here we should stress that there’s a big difference between marketing and UX research of competitors. We don’t look for positioning, differentiating, pricing and so on. But we catch the most common industrial patterns in user interfaces, best practices and bad or good decisions in interfaces of other products.
This allows us to provide a familiar environment for users. For example, we can’t make CRM for medical workers looking like the learning system for kids — the doctors should work in the interface they are used to using for years.
We interview the users
Real users give us an in-depth understanding of their values, perceptions and experiences. We also interview users on the points we need to clear out, like user habits, behavior and systems they use. This is how we get a complete picture of the experience users get.
For example, if we help to create a new product, we ask users how they solve the problem (which the product is supposed to solve) right now, about their problems when they solve it. I.e. we’re talking about their experience in this narrow field. And of course, we never ask “how do you think, that’s a good idea?” or “what features we need to implement?”
Usually we need to talk to no more than 5 users from each significant group like providers and buyers if we’re talking about a marketplace.
User interviews can greatly impact on the future interface and actually are a source of very valuable knowledge. Sometimes our clients didn’t even think about things that turned out crucial for their target audience.
Just never neglect this research, it costs not much time and money but has a big impact on further development and making decisions around the product.
We create user personas
And a user personа is a collective image of the target audience. This is vital for understanding the behavior and needs of your customers.
Keeping in mind the needs and daily routine of one specific person lets us make design decisions more confidently. Also, it allows us to be focused on really important things and don’t do everything for everyone. Creating user personas helps build empathy and understand user day to day life better.
We map the user journey
Journey map helps identify and generalize user journey in regards of task we want for them to do in the system. It helps Identify pain points and at what stage they appear. It helps to see touch points of the users on every stage, if they switching devices while trying to complete flow or they need to check something offline that might influence our design approach. Journey map informs our decisions on flow in the web application because it provides context of environment(tough points), user thoughts (divided by stage) and regular understanding of main stages (as perceived by user) to complete task. Journey map should be informed by user interview that way it is most reliable.
We visualize how a user interacts with the product to accomplish a goal. This helps us shape a shared vision and present information in a compact and easy-to-digest form.
We create the user flow
To optimize user experience in different parts of the product, we create mini user journeys. And this piece of research can’t be overestimated. If your system has complex flow we will create flowchart to understand complex interactions better. Our UX team prepared to deal with complex flows and track logic in the system.
The whole product is built on user-flows, every user’s interaction with the system is a part of user-flow and we have to predict all ways the user can go. And make sure that his journey will be successful and easy to perform.
We offer more research and other methodologies
Of course, there are plenty of other methodologies, techniques and practices. Above we listed just the most effective and most commonly used. But based on your project goals, requirements, budget and expectations, we can perform different types of research using the best-fitting methodologies.