Creating the perfect UX is important, but it also takes a lot of work. One of the most important parts of creating a functional and successful UX is conducting UX research to aid in the design process. Unfortunately, creating a UX research plan, preparing for research and making the most out of those results can be difficult. If you're looking for help conducting UX research that's effective and useful in creating your proof of concept (PoC), here are some tips.
The Importance of UX Research
A good UX starts with plenty of research, and that means having a proper research focus and doing the right type of research. Your idea of a good UX may differ greatly from what your target audience has in mind, so it's important to let them get hands-on experience so you can get feedback. Once you've gathered plenty of feedback about your prototype, your design team can begin to make improvements to create better products and services.
Here are some of the most important parts of UX research:
- It allows you to create a polished final product
- The design process is focused on the user instead of what you want
- You get a better understanding of who you're building the app for and who your target audience is
Preparing for Research
The first step in conducting effective user testing is making sure you're properly prepared. This starts with making sure you have the proper equipment and setup to conduct your research, in addition to creating a plan that ensures you're collecting data that you can effectively use to make improvements to your UX.
Aside from typical usability testing equipment such as a camera and laptop, it's important to create a comfortable environment for respondents. Some of the things you can do to achieve this include:
- Creating a quiet, comfortable environment for testing
- Offering snacks and refreshments to respondents while they test your prototype
Ultimately, solid UX research methods rely on creating a comfortable environment. The most effective mental models come from a testing environment that's similar to that of a person's home.
One of the toughest parts about usability testing is making sure you find a good group of respondents to test your UX. While creating a focus group can involve a lot of work, it's one of the most important aspects of making sure your UX research is effective. Plus, there are some tips you can utilize to make finding respondents a little bit easier. Ideally, you want to find people who are regular to help you conduct research. You can start by reaching out to people you know, including colleagues and friends. It's important to make sure the people you recruit aren't too tech-savvy, as this may affect the results of your research. You want to figure out how people who aren't particularly familiar with technology respond to your UX, so testing your UX with people who are tech-savvy won't help much.
Now that you've prepared for your research and found respondents to test your UX on, you can start conducting research. This starts with making sure you've prepared a space and all the equipment necessary to conduct your research. The important thing to remember about this is that you want to get genuine opinions from everyday people; the focus of your research should always be on how you can lean more toward user-centered design.
Setting up your camera properly is important. Here are some things you want to keep in mind:
- Keeping the camera out of sight keeps respondents in a more natural state
- It's best to have a view of both the respondent and the program they're using
- Make sure your camera has a microphone if you want to include audio responses in your results
One thing you want to remember when it comes to conducting UX research is that you won't always hear what you want to hear. As a matter of fact, you'll rarely hear good things about your UX—and that's the point. The whole point of conducting this research is figuring out where the faults lie in your UX. By hearing what sort of problems customers have with your UX, you can get a good gauge of what you need to improve on.
Once you've had a handful of people test your UX and you have recordings of their experiences, you can start to examine those results to make improvements to your UX. The Nielsen Norman Group conducts and promotes effective UX research through closely examining collected data. By seeing how people interact with your proof of concept in the real world, you can get a better idea of what the UX would be for your average user.
Some of the methods you may use to communicate with respondents include:
- Card sorting
- Written surveys
- Video surveys
- Short interviews
It's important to remember that the data you pull from your research is only as useful as you make it, which is why you need a good organization system. You should organize bugs and other UX problems by the problems they cause, the severity of those problems, and the potential fix for the problem. In terms of the kind of data you collect and how you use it to improve your prototype, you should use a combination of qualitative research and quantitative research. It's important to determine how your final product works from both a user point of view and a statistical point of view.
Creating products that are user friendly is important, which is why you should put a lot of effort into UX research. While setting up a space to conduct UX research, conducting research, and examining all the data may seem like a lot of work, it's the best way to ensure a solid proof of concept. As long as you're conducting solid user experience research, you know what improvements you have to make. If you aren't conducting thorough research to create your proof of concept, now is the best time to start.
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