In previous article (Strefa PMI no 20, pages 18-19) you can read about User Experience general concept. In this reading I will try to answer what kind of tools can help to take the most of this approach.

There is a common saying that the customer is always right. Is it really the case? Henry Ford stated “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. Customer is the core of any user experience method. Let’s have a look what UX tools can help to identify and uncover the real customer’s needs. In many cases customers are not fully aware of their needs. This is the great starting point to utilize UX method.

Does it pay off?

Before I go through the details let’s focus on value of using them and why does it pay off. By planning the strategy of company we have to take into the consideration that implementation of UX is first and foremost the investment not the cost! Solutions resulting from using UX will impact revenue in long-term perspective. We have to remember that the main goal of each company is continuous growth. Within competitive market the key challenges remain: meeting user/customer needs through delivering the best user experience and improving company’s financial results.

10X – 100X ROI

“Every dollar invested in ease of use returns $10 to $100”. This statement is made from global business juggernaut IBM. Apart from that it is crucial to consider user needs early in the process rather than at the end of it. It is worth remembering that the concept and assumptions are important. Effective customer experience management may bring a lot of advantages like great perceiving of your product, brand and credibility.

Positive vibration attached to your product and relevant communication impact customer’s emotions and are the first steps to build long-term relationship.

Immerse yourself within customer’s world

The goal of UX research is identification of the needs that customers might not know they exist. Thanks to various studies we can see the different perspective, verify what our responders need and conclude how to design product/service. What kind of results you might expect? Who are our users? What is the profile of our target group? What are their needs? What are their expectations towards our product? What kind of actions they have to do? Are they open to changes? What are their feelings?

Fot. blacksalmon –

Qualitative research with users

Qualitative tests involve participation of users being observed by researchers in their natural environment, offering an assessment of the usability of a product/service. In this type of study users deal with using of product/service/application and verify which elements work well and which are problematic. That way UX researcher can determine which element is really poorly or extraordinarily designed. These kind of studies we can conduct in real or laboratory environment. According to UX Alliance just five users might find 80% of failures. Duration of test usually takes up to two weeks of recruitment, then you can use agile approach to summarise and imply modifications.

Focus group is a small number of people brought together with researcher/moderator to concentrate on a specific topic in order to deeply understand the user and to verify the concept. The goal of such group is to discuss instead of to provide individual responses to asked questions. Duration of study takes approximately four weeks.

Individual interviews are the conversations between two (or more) people. It allows precise understanding how and why and gives possibility to capture responder’s emotions. Moderator can ask additional questions. Interviews take place in controlled environment. Duration of interview takes from 45 to 90 minutes. We have to notice some lowlights of this study which are high cost, limited test group and subjective results.

Ethnographical research is a study connected with direct user’s observation in their natural environment. By observing the behaviour of users it allows to understand the actual use of product. It demands a lot of time for observation and analysis. In some cases, observation is impossible due to intimacy and trust.

Ethnographical research diary is the study in which participants are asked to keep a diary noting their opinions, attitude and experience connected with the object of the research.

Qualitative research with users

Quantitative research serves as indirect assessment of the usability of a design. They can refer to user’s performance (e.g. success rate, activity completion time, number of failures). They can also refer to user’s perception of usability (e.g. satisfaction survey). The outcome are simply numbers which have to be interpreted together with reference point.

Immoderate remote research is a technique of gathering of quantitative data about behaviour and opinion of users. It allows to study the vast spectrum of users. Moderator does not have any impact on the study and it is easy to organize international research in multiple languages. The lowlight of using this technique is no control over research environment and it is hard to measure emotional dimension. It is easy to find answers to who, what, how much nevertheless it is hard to understand why and how!

Survey frequently is simple tool of gathering information. Usually consists of a set of questions and opinions on given topics. It is becoming a more expected tool for UX practitioners. However, creating a good survey is difficult. You can easy waste your time and money if the user is not at the centre of the process. In order to generate quality data and maximize completion rates a good survey design is a must.

Outcomes are key

In this article I gathered the most common tools within User Experience. They are the basis to further conclusions drawing. Outcomes of the research allow to build personas, experience mapping, user stories creation, scenarios mapping. All of the above contribute to design great user experience and provide opportunity to develop amazing products or services.

It is important to know what kind of tool to use in which scenario or environment. It is good to know what are the constraints and benefits of using all of them to better prepare research and to obtain valuable data for further steps in your UX design process. Skillful application of the techniques allow you not only to find to answers to given questions but also to discover new insights.

Is the user always right? Definitely there is something on when the user decides not to use your product. It should give you a trigger to reflect what might be the reason and think of a user experience tool you can use to fix it. Bear in mind to put your user in the centre of UX design to make sure that product/service meet his needs. Customer might not know what he really wants, however UX tools serve as a great help to identify his actual needs and to satisfy them.

Consulting and proof-reading Aneta Wereszczak