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An Introduction to the World of User Research

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What is user? Why do we do it? How do we do it? User Research Consultants, Dr Jennifer Klatt and Ben Smith from Methods Digital (https://methodsdigital.co.uk/) have kindly put together this slide deck to take you through the basics.

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An Introduction to the World of User Research

  1. 1. An Introduction to the Wonderful World of (User) Research… Ben Smith and Jennifer Klatt August 2016
  2. 2. Agenda • What is User Research? And why is it important? • Different methodologies • What is quantitative? • What is qualitative? • How do we measure things? (statistical significance) • How do we feed it back? How do we ‘sell’ it?
  3. 3. A question… What do you think user research is?
  4. 4. One way to describe it would be… … that user research is about understanding: User’s behaviors, needs and motivations through: Talking to them in different environments through interviews, observation techniques, task analysis, and other ways
  5. 5. So why are we here? Digital Service Standard from GDS 18 criteria to help government create and run good digital services All ‘public facing transactional services’ must meet it Used by departments and GDS as checklist – is a service is good enough for public use?
  6. 6. Why is it so important? Number #1 of the 18: “Understand user needs. Research to develop a deep knowledge of who the service users are and what that means for the design of the service”
  7. 7. Why is it so important? And Number #2… “Put a plan in place for ongoing user research and usability testing to continuously seek feedback from users to improve the service.”
  8. 8. What is our role? • To identify how best to meet our client’s research needs – for example: • Consider the advantages, disadvantages and risks • Use the right method(s) for the right context • Avoid the ‘one size fits all’ approach – it doesn’t • To conduct the actual research • To feed the insight back into the development process
  9. 9. Let’s talk methodologies
  10. 10. Quantitative vs Qualitative Quantitative methods • Examine the what, where, when, or who • Statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data using computational techniques • produce numbers • prove assumptions about population • larger number of participants required
  11. 11. Quantitative vs Qualitative Qualitative methods • In-depth and comprehensive information • Examine the why and how • They are more flexible but cannot answer questions about representativeness • produce insights and quotes • produce assumptions about population • smaller number of participants required
  12. 12. Subjective vs Objective • Subjective methods: • Asking participants what they want, think, feel about something or expect • For example about their experiences, plans or opinions • Objective methods: • Observe participants doing something • Analyse automatically collected data • Looking at how someone behaves, instead of what they say Risk of social desirability Hard to manipulate
  13. 13. Examples of Qualitative Methodologies • Interviews • Focus groups • Card sorting • Usability Testing (Eye Tracking)
  14. 14. Interviews • Interview guide: Personal background, experiences, preferences, thoughts • Semi-structured: there is room for flexibility as it goes on • Analysis: Summary, key insights and quotes • Types: Face to face, telephone, guerilla (shorter)
  15. 15. Focus Groups • Group interviews of at least 5-8 people • Good for generating ideas • Lots of different group exercises – like: • Method 635 • Mindmapping • Drawings (hour clock)
  16. 16. Usability Testing • Face to face, but also remotely • Examples of questions/tasks • First impression of the site (important: Do they understand what it is for?) • Specific tasks, e.g. creating an account • Information-gathering tasks – e.g. ‘try and look for the fee’ • Observers view this live, ask questions at the end, and can identify the main problems as the testing goes on
  17. 17. Card Sorting - over to you… Which structure would you give the elements from our website? What content would you expect from the titles?
  18. 18. Quantitative methodologies • Surveys (online/F2F/telephone) • A/B Testing (Experiments) • Frequency analysis • Google Analytics (e.g. bounce or click rates…) A Bvs
  19. 19. Surveys • For statistical analysis, 100 is seen as the minimum number • Questions/statements on scales • I am satisfied with the service from Methods Digital (from 1 = disagree to 5 = agree) • How satisfied are you with the service from Methods Digital? (from 1 = dissatisfied to 5 = satisfied) • Open ended questions • Is there anything more you would like to see on the website?
  20. 20. So how do we make sense of the data? Types of analysis: • Correlations: • ‘Satisfaction with our service correlates with an interest in digital’ • Significant differences: • ‘Women are more likely to buy our services than men’ • Descriptive data: • ‘53% of our clients are female with an average age of 47’
  21. 21. So when might we conduct research? • To analyse wants and needs: • Discovery • Interviews • To analyse the usability of digital services: • Alphas and Betas, Live • Usability testing • To test emotional reactions, opinions, perceptions, likeability, trustworthiness: • Interviews • Surveys
  22. 22. Good research is not things like… • Readers polls (self-selecting, biased) • PR research (research to get a particular answer) • ‘Customer evenings’ It’s not a substitute for decision-making … or anything that is not asked fully and objectively, to a representative/balanced population/people
  23. 23. What does useless research look like? “In Hertfordshire, 96% of the 50% who formed 20% of consumer spending were in favour. 0.6% told us where we could put our exotic ice creams.” …our thanks to Esther Pigeon Unintelligible Just descriptive – ‘so what?’
  24. 24. So how do we ’sell’ it? It’s not just something fluffy and nice; it’s about the bottom line Business objectives vs user objectives – “I care about business needs; but if we engage right with users, the business needs will be taken care of.” A bit fluffier: ‘There are real people at the end of this, with real lives’ – how a user centred approach can make a real difference GET EVERYONE ONBOARD!
  25. 25. So how should we feed it back? • Speak to the team from the beginning • Weave it into the way of working • Regularity • How do we bring ’the voice of the user’ to life? • Make it practical – the ‘so what?’ • Challenge! But we’re not hear to just parrot back what users tell us
  26. 26. Thanks for your time!

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