User Research for the Web and Applications


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In this workshop given for Skillshare, I discuss basic techniques and deliverables to help teams understand their site's users, organize content and visualize task flows.

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User Research for the Web and Applications

  1. 1. USER RESEARCHFor the Web and Applications Dani Nordin :: @danigrrl ::
  2. 2. Dani Nordinfounder, the zen kitchen• UX Designer and Strategist• Specialize in design strategy, UX and prototyping for Drupal projects• Author, Drupal for Designers (O’Reilly, 2011/2012)
  3. 3. What happens during the UX phase• Get an understanding of the site’s target users• Map out how users will flow through specific key tasks, and what information needs to be there to support them• Find out what content exists for the current site, what needs to be created, and how the content will be organized• Come up with a set of assumptions and standards that will govern the project as you move forward
  4. 4. USER INTERVIEWSLearn more about the real people who will be interactingwith your project
  5. 5. User interviews: Why?• Helps separate stakeholder whims from what actual users will find relevant• Includes perspectives from all the various user types involved in your site: • End users • Content admins and moderators • Marketing team• Can uncover needs not addressed by current design• Provides important and real data for personas, task flows and other project deliverables
  6. 6. User interviews: How?• Define 2-3 main user types• Set preliminary characteristics based on market research• Aim to interview 3 users of each type• Get client’s help in recruiting participants• Develop questions ahead of time for each type of user• Record interviews for later transcription/analysis• Timing: ½ hour for interview, ½ hour for notes, 2-4 hours for thematic analysis (once interviews are complete)
  7. 7. Step 1: Define User Types• Defined by behaviors they are looking to engage in • Enthusiast vs. casual browser • New account vs. existing customer• What qualities do they share? • Age, gender, education? • Level of interest in, or knowledge of, your service? • Specific goals?
  8. 8. Step 2: Create a research plan• Define a goal for the study: what are you trying to learn?• Questions should focus on behaviors, not desires: • How does the participant solve this problem currently? • What do they like or dislike about their solution? • What tools do they use to solve this problem? • How important is solving this problem to them?• Goal: It’s not about what they want, it’s about how they work.
  9. 9. Step 3: Recruit users• Goal: 2–3 users of each type (minimum)• Enlist client’s help in recruitment• Is there a budget to compensate participants?
  10. 10. Step 4: Conduct Interviews• Have a set of questions ready• Conduct interviews in person or over Skype• Record interviews• Take note of key insights, quotes• Take note of ideas you’ve heard in other interviews• Timing: ½ hour for interview; ½ hour for notes
  11. 11. Step 5: Analyze Findings• Pull out key insights, quotes, ideas• Note duplicate insights/comments• Tools: Post-Its, Sharpies, butcher paper
  13. 13. Personas
  14. 14. Task/User Flows
  15. 15. Functional Requirements
  16. 16. Functional Requirements
  17. 17. Wireframes
  18. 18. Low-Fi Prototypes
  20. 20. Content Strategy• How much content exists?• Is the content on brand/message?• Is there any new content that needs to be created?• What types of content? • Videos? • Image Galleries? • Articles?• Who creates content?• Does content have expiration dates or deadlines?• Is there an approval process for publishing?
  21. 21. Information Architecture• How is content organized?• What “basic pages” (i.e. marketing pages) exist?• What pages will involve listings of content (blog posts, news items, etc.)?• Are there specific tags, categories, or sections to consider?• What does each type of content look like? • Extra fields? • Images? • Video or audio? • File downloads?
  22. 22. POST-UPSA quick and visual way to analyze research findings,organize content, and solve sticky IA issues
  23. 23. Post-Ups: Why?• Helps quickly identify and prioritize major research themes• Helps quickly sort out content priorities• Tools are cheap and easy to move around • Butcher paper • Post-its • Sharpies• Allows the team to work collaboratively, which is more efficient than working alone—particularly for complex navigational structures
  24. 24. The Post-Up IA Workshop• Initial architecture posted up on butcher paper• Include 4–6 people, all of whom have a stake in the site (include content admins, not just execs)• Post architecture on wall• Each person gets 5 minutes to move things around • Have them think aloud • Videotape or record each person’s turn • Offer help, but avoid criticism or debate during each person’s turn • Take picture of result after each person finishes• Finish with discussion and finalization of architecture• Document result in content strategy documents
  25. 25. Congregational Library: version 1
  26. 26. Congregational Library: final post-up
  27. 27. Content Collection/Documentation: GatherContent
  28. 28. Results• Ensured that all voices were heard, not just the executives• Enabled discussion of pages’ relevance and usefulness• Identified and prioritized new sections/pages that were needed, and assigned stakeholders to them• Accomplished in two hours what would have taken weeks of back and forth over email
  29. 29. QUESTIONS?@danigrrl on