Designers are often faced with the task of designing experiences, products or services that represent a brand or business. Taking a user-first approach to this process is the best foundation you can lay for your business and the impending success thereto. In order to understand how best to present your brand experiences to your audience, you need to conduct a fair amount of user research that will help define the requirements of your particular set of users.
Here are a few research methods and guidelines that will help streamline the process of understanding how to go about user-centric design.
User Research Methods
The most commonly used forms of user research are qualitative and quantitative research. These can be intersected at a cross-section with behavioural and attitudinal approaches. Within these areas, there are loads of methods that can be used to conduct your research. These are only some of them:
- Usability testing
- Eye tracking
- A/B testing
- Analytics insights
- Focus groups and interviews
- Customer support calls
- Online surveys
Understanding User Goals
If you don’t understand what your user is trying to achieve when interacting with your brand or experience, then you’ll fall short in delivering it. Ask yourself a few simple questions before delving into the design:
- What are the goals of your user?
- What does your user want to achieve through his or her interaction with your brand?
- How can you help them achieve this?
Comprehensive user research will help you answer these questions, and it can put you in the driver’s seat when creating experiences they will appreciate. If you understand their goals, you can help them achieve them as they will give you a point of focus or outcome for your design.
Your users are coming to you to solve a problem and you need to help them do this. As a user experience designer, you need to design the path that your user needs to take in order to achieve success in this area. The path needs to be clear, defined and simple, which is why it’s so important to do the necessary research before you undertake the project and define the spread of work.
User Experience Prototyping
When you base your user experience design on actual user research, the outcomes are going to be geared towards your user’s requirements, and not personal assumptions. This is quite important, because often businesses think they can get away with simply trying to think like their users. But every person is different, which means their needs will be too. In addition to this, you will be biased towards actions and behaviour that is already commonplace in the business.
Once you’ve confirmed the user’s goals, you can go about designing a prototype based on helping them achieve these goals. A prototype is essential for testing the findings of your research and is the ideal landscape for your users to navigate your design pros and pitfalls.
This process of research, design, prototyping, building, testing and repeating is an ongoing affair. It never ends because the landscape, your users and their needs will constantly be evolving. Keeping it flexible and open to adjustment is key to making prototypes work. Each time you build, you can test the design on your users and gain insight into where improvements can be made. It’s through this process that the user experience design is constantly evolving.
Get a handle on your user experience design and research by getting the Interact RDT team to guide the way. Contact us today to get started.