#UX : Plan your research!

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Looking at where UX research fits in, we can conclude that it is where we will investigate something taking a systematic approach by applying various techniques in order to add context and insight to the design process. We need research to reach conclusions, create a list of facts and eventually find any issues. It also helps us understand the end users and identify any further product requirements. This is where we need to apply the correct techniques to the product at the right time.

This is where planning becomes essential to ensure that we get the most out of it. Let’s discuss a brief list of things we should consider as we put our plan into action.

Firstly we need to get out of our comfort zones and explore ways that focus on our audience and keep them comfortable at the same time as keeping tools relevant. For very complex questions we can combine methods and do everything we can to make sure users are still comfortable. We can also mix and match techniques and keep users entertained for best results.

Next we need to realise that everybody lies at some point and we should live by this rule. Suggesting more that people say different things to what they actually do and they usually don’t remember what they do so they report what they remember. There is also the chance of getting confused and communicating the wrong information purely by accident.

After looking at these factors we have to build some time into our research strategy to actually view users engaging with the product rather than just interviewing them as interviews are valuable tools but physically seeing a user play with a product is a much better way of receiving feedback.

Following on from that we need to get together as much data as we can from previous surveys, analytics, research data and various online sources. Research reliability can generally be increased if we lay our hands on as much data as we possibly can. This is a good method to test our conclusions against rather than just relying on a single source of information.

We need to actually document all this planning by physically writing it down on paper. This will mean that the team has something well documented to follow and means that everyone is on the same page and chances are that it will be executed properly. It also helps you explain what you actually did and why if things go pear-shaped down the line. Overall it improves almost all aspects of user research.

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Business2Community (link to image)

Rob Pickering (link to image)

Sasdi Alliance (link to image)

Chai One (link to image)

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