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2011 Q1 UX Research Launch at Company X


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A presentation on UX Research delivered to a 40-person technology company. …

A presentation on UX Research delivered to a 40-person technology company.

The purpose was to summarize the UX research that I've initiated over the past couple of months, to explain the methods used to collect data (especially qualitative findings), and to give a snapshot of some of the preliminary findings.

More than half of the organization is currently unfamiliar with UX, so it was also an opportunity to explain basic UX concepts and give a sense of how UX research fits into the product design and development process.

I framed the presentation by speaking to user insights desired by various teams within the company. I did this to show how UX research can surface valuable and actionable insights and drive innovation across teams.

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  • 1. User Research@ Company X
    Q1 2011
  • 2. Your Questions
    How do people create community
    (on and off the site)?
    Do users feel supported through the process?
    What do users want to learn or know before they make decisions?
    Do users want personalized opportunities?
    How are users reengaged?
  • 3. What is user research?
    AKA UX research
    Identify and prioritize unmet needs and pain points among our users
    Findings serve as a guide to where solutions can be found
    Framing the problems lets us design the best solutions to meet those needs.
  • 4. Why user research?
    Competitive strategy: differentiation
    2011 team objectives:
    [general objectives]
    [specific objectives]
  • 5. User research at Company X
    Identify what’s most important to our users
    Align their needs with our business goals
    Prioritize what we build, when, and how it’s delivered:
    Determine how we speak to and explain things to our clients/users and what we emphasize:
    Account management
    Customer support
  • 6. Methods
    Quantitative—tells you what
    Site analytics and log files
    Qualitative—tells you why
    Usability testing
    Cognitive walkthroughs
  • 7. Methods
    Outside research: cognitive and behavioral findings
    Usability testing
    Internal interviews: UX goals and questions
    User profiles and interviews
    Prioritize your UX goals and questions according to
    Business goals
    User goals
    Technology (goals)
    Frame the problems we’re solving for
    Unmet user needs
    Opportunities for product development
  • 8. Surveys
    What they capture
    Who our users are
    Their opinions
    Gives us information about what qualities define our audience
    Tells us on whom to concentrate qualitative research
  • 9. Who we survey
    Primary audience
    Secondary audience A
    Secondary audience B
    Tertiary audience
  • 10. Survey insights – Q1
    User demographics
    Self-reported behavior
    Self-reported motivations
  • 11. Age distribution of primary audience
  • 12. Primary audience demographics
  • 13. After completing task A, users ranked site tasks B, C, D and E as most important:
  • 14. In the last 12 months, behavior A was the only incidence, on our site or any other site, reported by 40% of secondary audience B. Almost 80% reported 3 or fewer incidences in the past year.
  • 15. Users feel equally motivated by A as they are by B. C is deemed to be more important than D.
  • 16. C is cited as the most significant influence on behavior M. Many also reported that they are creatures of habit or influenced by others.
  • 17. Top three ways of completing task F currently happen off the site, even when on-site opportunity exists.
  • 18. Why do most incidences of task F happen off the site?
  • 19. How can we improve this experience?
  • 20. Usability testing and cognitive walkthroughs
    Used to examine the functionality of individual features and how they’re presented
    Shows what real users do when presented with a task
    Gives insight into thought processes and mental models for completing tasks
    5-8 participants uncover 80% of problems
  • 21. This month’s test: tasks I, J, K
    Goals: increase conversions
    Goal #1
    Goal #2
    Goal #3
    Improve conversion rates by removing barriers to key flows
    Key flow #1
    Key flow #2
    Key flow #3
  • 22. Usability test tasks:
    Task I defined
    Task J defined
    Task K defined
  • 23. Preliminary results: Themes and trends
    Overall, product perceived to be a valuable tool
    Users looked for feedback from site after completing certain tasks
    Confusing calls to action
    Confusing sequence of steps
    Users expressed high degree of concern for making responsible and educated decisions
  • 24. Preliminary findings: Key feature areas to address
    Feature area 1
    Feature area 2
    Feature area 3
    Feature area 4
  • 25. “Representative user quote.”
    Feature area 1 details
    3/3 users looked for X and did not find it
    2/3 users expected to see Q
    One subject was dissatisfied with functionality and left the site to search on Google.
  • 26. “Representative user quote.”
    Feature area 2 details
    Users looked for ways to do Y and Z unsuccessfully
    Users looked for and had trouble finding information about X in Feature area 2.
  • 27. Next steps
    Complete remaining usability sessions and write final report
    Circle up with individual teams
    Purpose of surfacing findings is to:
    Be descriptive, not prescriptive
    Prioritize product improvements and features
    Communicate better with users in communications (in-product, outbound, community)
  • 28. Questions? Curious?
    Swing by for a chat
    Observe a usability testing session
    Post your additional UX questions on the wall
  • 29. References
    Reference A
    Reference B
    Kuniavsky, Mike. Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers: San Francisco, 2003.