User research has an extensive role to play in product development and design. After all, it’s the end user that is going to purchase the product, so it’s important to know that they would benefit from it. But how do you gather the right kind of research in order to make the informed decisions required to get your project off the ground? There is a lot of information to take in, but it’s in the dissemination of information that you will find the real gold.
Taking In The Right Information
Before you can begin collecting research, it’s crucial to draw up the background you are focusing on. By this we mean what niche you are working in, what the market is like at the present moment and what issues need to be solved. Once you have the foundation in place,
you can start to take in the research and align it to the business goals. This is where determining what the “right information” is comes into play. There can be a lot of clutter around what users want – because when given the opportunity to tell someone what you want, wouldn’t you suddenly start spouting off everything you can think of? In some instances, yes. Which means you will have a lot of user research that doesn’t really hold water with regards to the current problems you’re trying to solve. Or you might find that this information is out of budget, too difficult to implement, or not relevant to the greater user base.
So how do we know what’s relevant and what’s not? This is something that comes with experience, but also with the right amount of foresight. Ask yourself these questions:
1. What is our priority right now and how can it help us progress?
2. What are the obstacles that you might be faced with in the next three to six months? Six months after that?
3. If you were working on the same project at 100 x the scale, how would you need to adapt your thinking to cater to this?
This helps you prepare for every eventuality and makes current, smaller goals or issues much easier to manage and overcome.
Spot The Signals That Will Take You Forward
In a deluge of information and research, it’s important to discern between what’s relevant and what’s not. The signals will be different per project, and it’s quite difficult to spot them. But they will be key focus areas that affect the user in a big way. It could be the positioning of a button or navigation item. It could be the way that something is structured. The signals will tell you that something works, or it doesn’t, and you need to be able to spot these so that you can turn them into something of value or remove them if they are creating obstacles.
Making Research Work
Making user research guide you towards a specific goal is putting it to work. The trick is in depicting that. The best way to do this is through creating narrative about the goal and how you’ve used the research in order to reach it. Don’t forget to mention what the goal is and
how you are reaching it, or what the issue is and how you’re solving it. More importantly you will need to depict why you know that you are right. How can you back this up? How can you use the user research to show that what you’ve devised is going to work? That’s where the narrative gets tricky, but if you have committed to solving the problem or reaching the goal, and you have research to back up your reasoning… then you’ll be golden. Is user research is not your thing, you are safe in our hands. Contact us to find out how we can use user research to reach business goals.