UX Research: How Insights Can Help Build a Better Product
There’s an old UX adage that has been repeated many times but still bears relevance.
You are not your user.
If you don’t know your users and don’t spend time researching them, you don’t know what they know, how they interact, what they need, and what frustrates them. In other words, you don’t know a whole bunch of things you need to know to create a system that they find useful and usable.
In an industry devoted to the people who use products, services, and applications, research is paramount in understanding target users, their needs, aspirations, and ways of thinking. And UX research focuses on exactly that.
Understanding UX Research
UX research is an accurate and effective way to answer the challenging questions that arise when you are creating a product. You ask questions. You take notes. You learn everything you can about the target audience and then iteratively test your work throughout the design process.
A UX expert usually begins by asking about the users: Who are they? What do they do? What do they want? Why do they want it? What are some of their pain points?
Typically done at the start of a project, it encompasses different types of research methodologies to gather valuable data and feedback, such as stakeholder interviews, competitor analysis, best-in-class experiences, usability benchmarking, surveys, and data analysis, to name a few.
The accumulated and analyzed data helps identify problems and challenges, validates or invalidates your assumptions, finds patterns and commonalities across your target user groups and draws critical insights into your users’ needs, goals, and mental models. The insights help create user personas, customer decision journeys, and flows, building a blueprint for the overall experience design that would lead to successful user adoption of the product.
And guess what happens when user research is dismissed or not done right? The chances of product failure go up a few notches since the user experience is not optimized for the end-users.
Picture this: Without UX research, start-up founders and product managers are simply shooting without aim. They don’t know who their target audience is, and even if they have some idea, they still don’t know how to approach them.
Using Research to Define Experience at M3hive
At M3hive, we like to begin our user research in the simplest way possible. We speak to users. It’s a little bit more complicated and structured than it sounds, but at the heart of our research is a conversation between our UX practitioners and a user or a potential user.
One such client approached us; they made the world’s most versatile action cams that helped inspire those around us, but the same wasn’t true for their mobile web experience. The site seemed to play a limited role in the purchase and usage life cycle. It did not provide a cohesive online shopping experience to customers.
Before we started designing the new experience for their mobile web, we conducted in-depth research on how consumers and intenders experienced the category. And how they interacted with information, resources, content, and brands in that process, and the role mobile plays in their experience.
We started with on-ground research to interview stakeholders and gauge their need states, pain points, and mindset. We wanted to understand each stakeholder’s perspective and align all stakeholders’ views around a unified vision around the scope, purpose, outcomes, opportunities, and obstacles involved.
The second phase of our research included an in-depth quantitative and qualitative audit of the client’s mobile web experience to identify frictions and opportunity areas for an improved experience. To provide the best-in-class knowledge, we also commissioned an industry analysis to determine what the market leaders and competition are doing to capture their mobile audience. The research helped us better understand best industry practices for mobile UX and UI.
Thus, after a comprehensive evaluation of the data derived from our research, we created a seamless user experience that engaged and converted the target audience without any glitches or hiccups. We designed the mobile web experience keeping in mind that the users wanted a consistent shopping experience between desktop and mobile web– something we couldn’t have known without user interviews.
Once the updated mobile web design went live, traffic increased by 28%, along with a 42% increase in transactions through the app. The website also experienced a drop in the bounce rate by 17%.
How Can We Help You?
We’ve purposefully built up a team of user research professionals within the Product Strategy chapter at M3hive. These key team members employ various research methods to provide critical insights to help stakeholders align their business strategies with their users’ real needs and goals.
To build a culture that puts user experience above all else, our research and strategy team systematically observes, investigates, and measures the moments where knowledge and value exchanges happen between humans and technology. This way, we ensure that every product development decision ends up benefitting our users.