User Research Techniques Vikram Rao  STC India UX Session - Bangalore 25 th  June 2011
Agenda <ul><li>Context around User Research  </li></ul><ul><li>User Research Techniques  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate  s...
Context around  User Research
Fact of the matter… <ul><li>What are the problem we discover almost every time we analyze a project going awry? </li></ul>...
<ul><li>“ Knowing  and  caring  about users and their lives is absolutely at the core of user-centered design.” </li></ul>...
Summarizing User Research <ul><li>Knowing </li></ul><ul><li>the User </li></ul><ul><li>well  enough </li></ul>>> User Rese...
User Research Techniques
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Data Mining / Analysis  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data mining is the process of  extracting h...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Data Mining / Analysis  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leveraging existing sources (...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>User Trip   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A User Trip is a technique where  you  take a ‘trip’ th...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using User Trip  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It would help us gain a good understanding...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Observation Exercise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An observation Exercise is a technique where  ...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Observation Exercise  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collection of detailed, descrip...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>User Interviews   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User Interviews  help us in better understanding ...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using User Interviews  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews are a great way to find i...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Contextual Inquiry   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contextual inquiry involves collecting detaile...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Contextual Inquiry  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A chance to see what really happe...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Split A/B Testing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Split A/B testing is a technique of  finding out ...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Split A / B Testing  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Low risk approach  </li></ul></u...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Diary Study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Diary Study is a technique where  participants collect ...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Diary Study  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need very little time to plan and organi...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Focus Groups  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A focus group could be defined as a group of interact...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Focus Groups  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collection of detailed, descriptive nar...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>User Surveys / Questionnaires   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User Survey is an offline means of ...
User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using User Surveys and Questionnaires  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need very little tim...
Choosing a User Research Technique
Choosing a technique <ul><li>You need to consider the following when choosing a user research technique: </li></ul><ul><li...
Choosing a technique X X X X New  Product or  System X X User Surveys / Questionnaires X X X Focus Groups  X Diary Study  ...
Questions… <ul><li>You can also reach me at:  [email_address]  | 9845694979 </li></ul>
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User Research Techniques by Vikram Rao, RSA

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Session conducted on Saturday, June 25, 2011, at Continuous Computing India Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore.

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User Research Techniques by Vikram Rao, RSA

  1. 1. User Research Techniques Vikram Rao STC India UX Session - Bangalore 25 th June 2011
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Context around User Research </li></ul><ul><li>User Research Techniques </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate some User Research Techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pros and Cons of the Techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Choosing a User Research Technique </li></ul>
  3. 3. Context around User Research
  4. 4. Fact of the matter… <ul><li>What are the problem we discover almost every time we analyze a project going awry? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Badly Define Requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We don’t know much about our users and their needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor Communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stakeholder politics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>etc. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>“ Knowing and caring about users and their lives is absolutely at the core of user-centered design.” </li></ul>What/Why? How?
  6. 6. Summarizing User Research <ul><li>Knowing </li></ul><ul><li>the User </li></ul><ul><li>well enough </li></ul>>> User Research
  7. 7. User Research Techniques
  8. 8. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Data Mining / Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data mining is the process of extracting hidden patterns from data. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As more data is gathered, with the amount of data doubling every three years, data mining is becoming an increasingly important tool to transform this data into information. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Data Mining / Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Leveraging existing sources (internal or external) of information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cons of using Data Mining / Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Very time consuming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The raw data needs to be scanned, sorted and analyzed – for which we need skilled UX Researchers or Analysts to perform the exercise </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. User Research Techniques <ul><li>User Trip </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A User Trip is a technique where you take a ‘trip’ through the whole process of using a particular product or system, making yourself a critical observant user. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using User Trip </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It would help us gain a good understanding of the requirements and provide suggestions towards additional features in the proposed application. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Detailed review of the UI would help us to understand the pain points with the existing scenario/ application. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can preempt a lot of issues with the UI </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cons of using User Trip </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The environment or situation in which the actual user is likely to perform the task cannot be simulated. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If the exact user profile is not considered during simulation by the person who is conducting the user trip, it might not be effective. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Observation Exercise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An observation Exercise is a technique where you ‘observe’ actual users or representative users through the whole process of using a particular product or system. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Observation Exercise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collection of detailed, descriptive narrative data about the user’s profile, product usage, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be referred to throughout the year; useful for instructional planning. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cons of using Observation Exercise </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Needs to be conducted in classroom or work environment which may its own limitations / distractions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scheduling the sessions (time required, when to observe) is a challenge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Great deal of expertise and objectivity required. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. User Research Techniques <ul><li>User Interviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User Interviews help us in better understanding the user’s ‘goals’ and ‘needs’ by actually talking to them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The information would help us make better decisions in further improving the user experience and capabilities of the product or system. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using User Interviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Interviews are a great way to find in-depth information about your users. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They're fairly easy to organize. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Typically need very little facilities / tools and can also be done remotely . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cons of using User Interviews </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Laborious process if done with many users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Getting the right users that match the persona could be a challenge. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Contextual Inquiry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contextual inquiry involves collecting detailed information about customer work practice by ‘observing’ and ‘interviewing’ the user while they actually work. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The researcher should stay in the background and let the user lead the situation as much as possible. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Contextual Inquiry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A chance to see what really happens and also clarify in context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides data about environmental factors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critical source of information for Persona and scenario development. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cons of using Contextual Inquiry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis relies on the capabilities of the observer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Possibility of no follow-up or probing means it's possible to make wrong inferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only provides data on the observed work tasks and environment. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Split A/B Testing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Split A/B testing is a technique of finding out which changes or options help your users' performance . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It provides a controlled method of measuring the effectiveness (or not) of alterations to your site, product or system. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Split A / B Testing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Low risk approach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cheaper than other methods such as focus groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides proof </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Great way to do 'test run' new designs before full roll-out (to avoid negative surprises on the launch day) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can solve internal disputes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cons of using Split A / B Testing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New designs might have to 'wear in' before you can measure their real performance (visitors' initial response might be negative because they're used to the old solution) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can only compare 2 versions with a single factor that differentiates both designs (for more factors / variations you need to deploy multivariate testing which is more difficult to analyze) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It takes technical know-how to set up and analyze the results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You're testing in a live environment so external factors might have an impact on the outcome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If your site / system is really in bad shape, this technique does not help as you'll still need to do a proper overhaul. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Diary Study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Diary Study is a technique where participants collect data about events on site as they happen . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Researcher would have to define templates to be handed out to systematically collect data. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Diary Study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need very little time to plan and organize </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be done parallely with other ongoing tasks and research activities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cons of using Diary Study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Highly dependant on the users recording the right information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users need to be motivated to record activities and pass it along </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A focus group could be defined as a group of interacting individuals having some common interest or characteristics, brought together by a moderator, who uses the group and its interaction as a way to gain information about a specific or focused issue . </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collection of detailed, descriptive narrative data about the user’s profile, product usage experience, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Very cost effective in terms of gathering primary data and are very much time efficient </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cons of using Focus Groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is difficult to gather users together for this exercise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opinions might get biased based on comments from other participating members </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. User Research Techniques <ul><li>User Surveys / Questionnaires </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User Survey is an offline means of finding out how the software or web site is likely to be used by a specific set of users, some of usability pain points and other generic information.  </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. User Research Techniques <ul><li>Pros of using User Surveys and Questionnaires </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need very little time to plan and organize </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A cheap and effective way of capturing information. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cons of using User Surveys and Questionnaires </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is a one sided. We typically get answers to the questions that we have – we not actually listening to the user. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can only have a limited set of questions as surveys and questionnaires cannot be very long. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Choosing a User Research Technique
  27. 27. Choosing a technique <ul><li>You need to consider the following when choosing a user research technique: </li></ul><ul><li>Goals : Why you’re doing the research? </li></ul><ul><li>Information Required : Qualitative vs Quantitative? </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule : When to do the research? </li></ul><ul><li>Budget : How much it’s going to cost? </li></ul>
  28. 28. Choosing a technique X X X X New Product or System X X User Surveys / Questionnaires X X X Focus Groups X Diary Study X X X Split A / B Testing X X X X X Contextual Inquiry X X X User Interviews X X X Observation Exercise X User Trip X Data Mining / Analysis Need Qualitative Data Access to Users High Budget Availability Have Time on Hand Obtain Specific Results User Research Technique
  29. 29. Questions… <ul><li>You can also reach me at: [email_address] | 9845694979 </li></ul>

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