Understanding users, their conscious and subconscious needs, their hopes, aspirations and fears, is the beginning of any design process. We call it ‘building empathy’. When we translate this understanding into usage scenarios for products and services, we are able to deliver telling insights that your organization can act on. Our research approaches are varied, based on specific business needs, and are usually hybrid models of User Interviews, Contextual Inquiry, Focus Groups, Usability Testing and Surveys.
Knowing your users means you know what to do to keep them happy, and keep them returning to your site. Knowing your users is the first step towards building a successful product.
They help you discover:
- User’s needs and goals
- How users complete tasks on your site
- What users think the site offers them (and what more is really wanted/needed)
As a qualitative research tool it gives you access to greater levels of information and a more complete picture than you could ever gather. It also helps you guide future site development by highlighting user needs through increased understanding. This understanding helps you make better decisions; both in general site management and further developing your site.
So clients ask us “Why not just put out a questionnaire? I’ll get the opinions of more people.” You will, but interviews give you so much more detail. It’s depth versus breadth. Questionnaires help you know about users but interviews help you understand them.
Contextual Inquiry is a qualitative user research technique for examining and understanding users and their workplace, tasks, issues and preferences. It basically consists of visiting several users on site, observing them carry out their tasks, and analyzing and documenting the resultant data.
It is primarily based on: understanding that the context in which a product is used (the work being performed) is essential for elegant design and the user in question is a partner in the product design process.
Many times, the environment in which people work really influences how people use a product; hence it is one of the best methods to use when you really need to understand the user’s work context. It is more of a discovery process than an evaluative process; more like learning than testing.
They key is to observe and analyze the way products are used in people’s homes or places of work and provide design insights that can be used to satisfy customer’s real goals and desires. With minimal intervention, our user experience professionals observe: how end-users interact with the product or website in their natural environment. This approach allows the researcher to determine how easily customers are able to accomplish their goals and areas where they faced problems while attempting the task.
When it comes to attitudinal studies where the objective is to get an insight on people”s attitude and outlook towards using products and services, focus groups is one of the most proven techniques to understand ‘what people think’. It is used as a preliminary research technique to explore people’s ideas and attitudes. It is often used to test new approaches (such as products or advertising) and to discover customer concerns.
A group of 6 to 20 people meet in a conference-room-like setting with a trained moderator. The room usually contains a one-way mirror for viewing, including audio and video capabilities. The moderator leads the group’s discussion and keeps the focus on the areas you want to explore. It works effectively while evaluating product ideas or concept to gauge market and available demand.
Our cumulative experience in human factors and psychology has helped us understand and realize why and how users behave and react to different situations. We know that there is a big difference between ‘what people say’ and ‘what people do’. Usability testing is a qualitative research technique that helps us discover the latter. With a dialogue between actual users and our highly trained interviewers, we identify stumbling blocks in the flow and navigation, and possible points of confusion. Using the data from the interviews, and years of experience, our experts draw conclusions and provide concrete advice on how to further optimize your product’s design.
When you consider the place for usability testing in the overall product development process, then there are two main types of usability test: formative testing and summative testing
Formative usability testing takes the role of a support tool for decision making during the beginning stages of the design process and – if applied early in the development process provides valuable insights of user frustration and experience bottlenecks.
Summative usability testing is a quality assurance type of test usually performed later in the development process. A similar usability test protocol is used as in formative usability testing but now this setup is used to do formal user acceptance testing before the product is released to the target audience.
A summative test uses specific metrics of user’s success to assess whether the product meets those metrics and can be released from a user experience perspective.
A survey is a quantitative research approach where the goal is to gather information from a large sample of target users. As opposed to qualitative research approach, the large data gives you the confidence to make important design decisions and also gives you detailed insights into thoughts and attitudes of target customers. Our on-line quantitative survey studies helps you measure user satisfaction and thus gathers rich user data and feedback.