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If you ever thought that you could just go in and build an application without doing any research into the who, what and why, then you’d probably find that it would fall short before it even took off. Building apps impulsively means that you’re building for yourself and not thinking about how it will be received and perceived. You need to conduct extensive user experience research first to find out what your users actually want and need and how they will navigate it. If it’s not built for your users, why would they use it?

A study by Dimensional Research said that “80 percent of mobile users turn to their apps up to 15 times a day”. That’s a great deal of time spent using an application that needs to serve its purpose.

There are so many mobile applications available today, you can pretty much download an app for anything. With so much competition in the field, it’s essential that your mobile app stands out, is user-friendly and that it’s been tested through all eventualities.

According to Gartner, “About 37 percent of users will think less of a brand if its mobile app crashes or causes errors. Nearly half of users will remove the app, ending your revenue stream.” Can you afford not to deliver a seamless app that answers the needs of your users? How do you do it? With ample, in-depth user experience research.

Going About Conducting Your User Research

Before you even begin on this research journey, you also need to ask the most important question of all: what prompts a user to download an app in the first place? More importantly: what will prompt a user to download your app?

Then continue with the most basic questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
    • Where do they live?
    • What do they do?
  • What problem will this mobile app solve for them?
  • How will this app differ from all the millions of other apps available?
  • What will they expect from this mobile app and how can you deliver that?

Just because it looks sleek and pretty, doesn’t mean it will be downloaded thousands of times in day 1. The app needs to be functional. It needs to serve a purpose. No one is going to keep an app that promises all these incredible things but then fails to operate the way it was expected to. We refer to the above statistic from Gartner. A failed attempt at building a user-friendly, functional app can cause massive damage to the business as a whole.

Who Conducts User Research?

If you’re a team of developers that don’t have a dedicated user research specialist, then this is a role that should be outsourced. User research can be undertaken on your own, but it pays to get a professional to do it if you are at all unsure of the intricacies yourself. A proper UX research specialist will outline exactly how the app needs to function, display or navigate in line with your developer’s functional spec. They will be involved in the process from the beginning, up until each element of research and the resultant work involved has been implemented.

1.) The first level of involvement is right in the beginning before anything is built. You have your app ideas and perhaps there is a functional spec that has been drawn up, but this is the observation stage for the UX researcher. They are investigating how the app will solve the user’s problems and how this will align with company goals.

2.) Then comes data collection where the researcher will look at similar apps and how they performed, where they fell short, key trends in the industry, statistics and studies that are relevant to the cause.

3.) By collecting as much information as they can, they can now draw a line of relevance between the target audience and the mobile application you’re looking to build.

A.) They now understand the user, their habits and how they engage with mobile applications.

B.) At this stage, the researcher can also turn to market research to further solidify their findings to ensure that their thinking is correct.

4.) The user research specialist will then analyse all the information and apply it to the mobile application in ways that will serve the user audience. This is then presented to the team as a whole and valuable discussions can take place where this information can be leveraged even further.

It’s essential to take an informed approach when building mobile applications and user research is by far one of the most beneficial ways to do it. That way you know you are answering the needs of the audience and giving yourself a much grander shot at success.

Are you thinking of building a mobile app? Let Interact RDT be your user experience research specialist. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

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