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10 user research_tips

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When considering enhancements, optimizations, or planning new content development, a business should aim to better understand the informational needs, tasks, and behaviors of its consumers across all …

When considering enhancements, optimizations, or planning new content development, a business should aim to better understand the informational needs, tasks, and behaviors of its consumers across all digital channels. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when designing a behavioral research study.

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  • 1. 10 Tips for Conducting Better User Research
    Jonathan Lupo
    VP/Information Architecture
    Empathy Lab
    http://empathylab.blogspot.com
  • 2. End-User Research is Important
    When considering enhancements, optimizations, or planning new content development, a business should aim to better understand the informational needs, tasks, and behaviors of its consumers across all digital channels.
    Here are 10 tips to keep in mind when designing a behavioral research study.
  • 3. 1. Recruit active information-seekers
    Launch a Google cost-per-click advertisement that solicits participation when relevant keywords queries to the research topic are used.
    A list of customers who have opted into receiving email communications is also a great platform for recruiting participants to a research study.
  • 4. 2. Analyze existing consumer research
    Look to the marketing or the customer service department of a business to understand what is already known about target consumer segments.
    Identify gaps in knowledge about consumers, or seek to update outdated research.
  • 5. 3. Formulate hypotheses
    Business stakeholders will volunteer hypotheses about their target customer segments. Secondary research may also suggest certain motivations, tasks, and behaviors.
    Design a study with some informed hypotheses to help make lines of questioning more relevant from the get-go.
  • 6. 4. Develop a comprehensive list of questions
    Think through and document every possible line-of-questioning and probing follow-up question.
    The study guide isn't a script but it should assist the research facilitator in case a line of questioning reaches a dead-end.
    The idea is to keep the subject talking about the subject and maintaining a calm and natural atmosphere
  • 7. 5. Ask open-ended questions
    Questions that naturally result in a "yes" or "no" response do not lend themselves to a dialogue. Ask questions that require subjects to be descriptive and engage in a conversation.
  • 8. 6. Do not ask participants to speculate
    The goal of behavioral research is to understand and observe behavior.
    Asking a participant what they might do in a given situation or what they think they might want on a web site leads them to speculate on their behavior. Speculation leads to false and biased data.
  • 9. 7. Perform research in context
    Behavior is best observed in the context of where it naturally occurs.
    Performing a study in the context of which a task is normally performed aids end-user recall of the task in question.
    B
    L
  • 10. 8. Videotape participants and environment
    ¹
    Nothing proves a point like a video clip of participants performing relevant tasks.
    Obtain participants' consent prior to videotaping them.
  • 11. 9. Bring a research assistant
    Facilitating a research study requires concentration and focus.
    The interviewer must make sure that all important lines-of-questioning are brought up in the interview, the conversation is natural, and questions are not "leading" the participant to a biased result.
    The facilitator should not be the one taking notes or handling the technical equipment (such as a video camera or audio recording device).
    B
  • 12. 10. Have a designer, copywriter, or strategist assist with the research
    True collaboration in Design requires the Information Architect and Visual Designer to both understand and empathize with end-user needs.
    The right research partner depends on the type of project for which the research is being conducted.
  • 13.
    • Jonathan Lupo
    • 14. VP/Information Architecture
    • 15. Empathy Lab
    • 16. http://empathylab.blogspot.com