User Research to Fall in Love with Your Products

Looking back on the product analysis, network-centered approaches were regarded as benchmarks. Today, it’s users who is in the driver’s seat for business sustained success. No wonder, looking into their experience is paramount.

Convincing Stats: Users are the Center of Business Universe

User Research

Making user experience mistakes puts company reputation and revenues on the line. According to Customer Think, 80% of companies talk big about exceptional customer services, while only 8% of customers actually agree on the quality.
A negative customer service experience leads to no more business operations in 82% of cases. Plus, there are word-of-mouth recommendations that do work. Bad news travels fast – about 50% of customers with a negative service experience share it with a dozen more people, who are ten to one will become new users.
Nielsen Norman Group had a study on how usability testing impacts return on investment for both commercial and non-commercial projects. Following developed e-commerce UX guidelines results in doubling sales, conversion rates, and other important metrics. They had a research – The Quest for Convenience – that proves convenience is the driving force behind user choices. Time-saving solutions simplify hectic lifestyles of consumers and grant their acknowledgment.

Hints to Start a Study

The IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) stresses that conducting early-stage UX design researches is fundamental as fixing post-development errors is 100 times more expensive in comparison with those detected and solved before product release.
Understanding the importance of user researches, it is key to be in the know of the best time to conduct them. So, it’s high time to get the ball rolling when you want to:

  • bring into focus and analyze how intuitive and functional your product is
  • adapt the product by putting to test the scope of decisions
  • have a complete picture of both market data specifics and users’ intentions.

Besides, unpredictable market changes and upcoming product modifications, e.g. entering an international market, are good points to have user researches as well. For different types of companies, there is a varying time to win, e.g. outsource companies – pre-sales, product ones – development, startups – early stages.

User Research

However, some businesses believe that using general niche statistics can solve their users’ challenges. They have even come up with a list of excuses, just not to run a study. Here are alternative solutions.
On the other hand, there are well-known cases of UX and UI researches playing a crucial role in winning over the market.
Instagram rolled out a product to find out the most sought-after features. They were sharing images, making comments, and liking. As a result, a new cut-down version was launched with over 100,000 downloads in less than 7 days and over 7,000,000 users registered in 9 months.
Next, UX designs meeting user requirements influence customer retention and leads. A 5% growth in the former can result in a 125% increase in profits, due to CustomerThink. Lots of companies have had brilliant examples of making a difference after investing in user research, e.g. Amazon, Samsung, etc. To drive the point home, analyze the following UX magic examples:

  • Airbnb reported doubling weekly profits after changing poor-quality photos of apartments with professional ones.
  • Bing increased the annual revenue by $80 million after choosing a certain blue hue.
  • ESPN.com had a 35% revenue increase after redesigning the homepage following users’ suggestions.

That said, getting into the weeds is definitely worthy for building on-the-same-page-with-users approaches.

User Research Steps
    1. Build a research framework. Focus on available data, specify main and secondary goals, as well as expected outcomes, choose suitable methods and approaches. Integrating qualitative and quantitative studies is informative results. The former examine what-issues, e.g. what features, why sales go down, etc., while the latter focus on numeric specifics, e.g. how many/much, etc.
      Qualitative Methods
      Quantitative Methods
      User Research
      User Research

      Combine qualitative and quantitative methods to fit your requirements and get results.
      Another critical point to do studies most effectively is to zero in on the team from different departments (marketing, sales, finances, etc.) to advocate and ensure buy-in participation as a common language leads to common goals.

      In fact, Google and Yahoo created diverse teams devoted to usability and had their efforts paid off. No wonder, McKinsey has come up with the braided approach bringing together efforts of design, strategy, and technology to promote a design-driven culture.

      It’s also possible to hire UX consultants to provide the service if there are no in-house pros.

 

  • Plan and get ready.

 

    1. Creating a framework should be followed by screening participants, adjusting both the timeline and methods, and piloting the study. On average, the most hot-button issue at the stage is defining the number of participants, ranging from a pair to dozen. 5 seems to be the magic number.

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    1. argues, though, that bigger budgets are better to be invested into the wider scope of research methods rather than increasing the number of participants involved.

 

  • Execute.

 

    Make sure to take detailed notes and document all findings. Summarize and draw conclusions on a regular basis, preferably daily.

  1. Analyze and bring to life research results. Interpreting results unbiasedly is necessary to make impact-oriented decisions. There are numerous tools to do the analysis of results, with visual representation being quite popular. Next comes turning findings into life. For example, MailChimp posted user persona portraits in the office to create user visualization. A proof of concept (POC) runs a certain design idea up the flagpole to prove functionality. Whether it’s A/B testing or beta versions, they are to flag up future business value of the offered changes. Another alternative is making prototypes that show how features can be developed. Mozilla Firefox managed to drop the number of questions at the support forum down to 70% by building the product on user-tested prototypes.

Research Tips

Prioritize points of interest, e.g. user portraits, behavior, environment, reactions, etc.
Planning is crucial for carrying out user researches. Make sure you have Plan B and even Plan C. Plus, include a time gap into the schedule not to exceed set time limits.
Stay alert and don’t get lost doing field studies or dealing with difficult-to-understand research participants.
Proactive attitude creates a perfect atmosphere to open up. Psychologists prove that the longer you stay in touch, the more to the point info gets revealed, which leads to more meaningful insights.
To top it all, it takes time and effort to get user researches going smoothly but they definitely do the trick. They work brilliantly for well-informed decisions Build your products from a user-centric perspective to have a head start in the market.