The Strategies Behind Effective User Research
April 19, 2019
The key for teams to deliver more innovative, well-designed products and services is clear. We can describe the key with one word: exposure.
The more our team members are exposed to the users of our designs, the better our designs become. When team members don’t have enough exposure, they make poorer design decisions. Those poor decisions lead to designs that frustrate our users.
Frustrated users will jump at the opportunity to use a better-designed product or service. To be competitive, we want our products and services to be the ones our users jump to use.
To make this happen, we need a deep understanding of how our designs frustrate our users and where our designs can be improved. To get that deep understanding, everyone on our team must be exposed to our users while they’re using our product.
Everyone needs exposure
Everyone involved in making and influencing design decisions need this exposure. It’s not just the designers. We must expose our developers, product managers, stakeholders, and other influencers who guide the decisions we make to our users. Even that executive who regularly swoops in and poops all over our design (a process known as the seagull maneuver) needs exposure.
When someone influential doesn’t have enough exposure, the decisions they make are not based on what the users need. They are based on opinions.
At best, those decisions are based on what they themselves might need. At worst, the decisions are based on guesses. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely those decisions are the right decisions.
The maturity of our user research efforts determines the number of avenues we can use for exposing our team members to our users. As our user research efforts become more mature, there are more ways to see what our users need from us.
Strategies to increase exposure
During our 2-day Creating a UX Strategy Playbook workshop, an entire afternoon is dedicated to exploring the strategies organizations successfully employ to increase user exposure on their teams. Design leaders at the workshop explore dozens of strategies, to identify the ones most likely to work in their organization.
Here’s a small sample of the strategies specific to increase exposure. How many of these strategies could your team be doing better?
Strategy 1.03: Initiate a usability testing program - While many teams already have established usability testing efforts, there are still many who don’t do this regularly. See how decisions have an immediate effect on how users interact with your designs.
Strategy 2.02: Institute a field visit program - Get into the user’s environment to see how the work they do and how your design makes a difference.
Strategy 2.03: Socialize exposure - Make sure everyone in the organization sees how increased exposure improves the design of products and services.
Strategy 2.20: Institute identifying customer problems using the Kano model in regular field study synthesis - Focus the team’s research analysis on reducing complexity, meeting expectations, and creating delightful experiences.
During the workshop, we’ll explore many other strategies specifically geared toward increasing the exposure of team members. Here are a few more:
Strategy 2.16: Institute a formal discovery phase for every project
Strategy 2.29: Institute including executives and key influencers on field visits
Strategy 3.19: Integrate multi-variant tests with qualitative research to learn why variants work
Strategy 3.39: Institute program for everyone to answer support emails and calls
These are just a few of the 130 strategies we explore in the Creating a UX Strategy Playbook workshop. During the workshop, you’ll identify which strategies are most effective for your team. You’ll assemble an action plan in the form of a playbook that details exactly which strategies will work best.
If you want to deliver more innovative, well-designed products and services, this is the workshop for you. You can read more about the strategies and how the workshop works at Playbook.UIE.com.
We limit every workshop to 24 participants. Because design leaders often bring their peers from development and product management to help choose their best strategies, the workshop fills up quite quickly. Register today.