DAY 1 – Do you know what you don’t know before you do your research?
The U in UX design stands for USER. Research in the field is called USER research and the design process is USER centred. Nonetheless often times we forget who we are creating for or better we think to know but base our knowledge on assumption instead of facts. Focus on the user is not just rhetoric. All your favourite apps and websites have one thing in common: they are designed for YOU, the USER. What are some of the best techniques to start your user research?
We often have a bunch of assumptions when we start out with a project. We fool ourselves into thinking we know our users when we actually don’t. We are not relying on facts and we don’t realise it. This is even a bigger danger than consciously knowing that we don’t include our users in what we are doing. Before we start our research it is good to assess what we already know and where we need to dig deeper. A way to get started is to gather information about the user from third parties such as research done by other institutions, the marketing team or any other available information we can get our hands on that is relevant. This helps to get a big picture view. In the beginning we want to learn more about our user group. Are most users female? Male? What age group? What are the most downloaded applications on the app store? What are the features? Try to find out who is using similar application. When analysing competition, try to find out the pain points and frustrations of the people using these applications. By doing so you open up possibilities for your product to have a competitive edge.
Ask yourself and your team: what do we know for fact vs. what is just our believe!
Take the example of a weight loss app: we might assume that most users of our weight loss app are female. But is that a fact? Gather around a white board and write down everything you think to know. When your white board is full of sticky notes start going through each of them and figure out if is an assumption, a believe or a fact. Then decide which questions or doubts you want to look into further.
As team you can narrow down known unknowns and unknown unknowns
This group exercise is great to clarify facts, to establish what we know but also known unknowns (things we know we don’t know) and unknown unknowns (things we DON’T KNOW that we DON’T KNOW).
It is important to do this as a team because more people know more which helps us not only to establish more facts but also to narrow down known unknowns and unknown unknowns. Questions arise which allow us to individuate objectives for our research. Not all questions, assumptions or believes can be investigated further. Chose the most urgent once first and start with those.
Read on for day 2: Ux research – Qualitative vs. quantitative