For many businesses, user research is seen as a ‘nice-to-have', often because it's easy to feel like we already know what our customers want, but sometimes it’s because we’re afraid of what we might find out. However, speaking to your customers through user research must be considered a vital component for the success of your digital strategy.
User research is a crucial step in the development of any product or service. It's essential for businesses who want to create a great user experience and differentiate themselves in the market.
What is user research?
In this article, we'll look at how you can conduct user research for your business for the first time.
So let’s start by defining what user research is.
User research is the process of generating new ideas or evaluating a product or service in collaboration with representative users. The goal is to validate the value of a potential product, or identify any usability issues, gather feedback, and make improvements to the product before it's built, released to the public (your audience), or whilst you’re looking to make improvements to a live product.
Now, let's discuss why it’s important. By speaking with users, you can uncover potential issues with your product or service that you may not have otherwise discovered.
This can save you time and money in the long run by avoiding costly redesigns or revisions after your product or service has been released. Additionally, it can help you gather valuable feedback from your target users, which can inform future product development decisions.
So, how do you conduct user research for your business? Below are 5 simple steps:
- Develop a test plan: Once you've identified your target users, you'll need to develop a test plan. This should include the specific tasks or scenarios that you want to test, as well as any relevant background information or instructions for the participants.
- Identify your target users: Identify who your target users are. This will help you tailor the testing process to the specific needs and preferences of your target audience.
- Recruit participants: Next, you'll need to recruit participants for your user testing. This can be done through online platforms, social media, outreach, or by connecting with your network of contacts. Within your target audience it's important to have diverse participants in order to get a well-rounded view of your product or service.
- Conduct the testing: Once you have your participants and your test plan ready, you can begin the user testing. When evaluating a product, this typically involves observing users as they complete the tasks or scenarios that you've outlined in your test plan, and taking notes on any issues or any feedback that they provide. The good news is that you need fewer interviews than you might think – a minimum of six interviews of a target user group should start revealing similar usability challenges in your product.
- Analyse the test results: After the user testing is complete, it's time to crunch those findings and analyse the results. This involves reviewing the notes and recordings that you collected during the testing, and identifying any areas for improvement. We like to combine a mix of qualitative insights and quantitative results.
By following these steps, we’re confident that your business can start to conduct user research and gather valuable insights that will help improve your offering and create a better user experience.
User research is an essential part of the product development process, and it can help your business stay ahead of the competition.
Working with Codehouse
At Codehouse, we perform user research for our customers to help validate ideas both in the early design phases as well as for those products and services already in the users’ hands. You should book a slot for a 15 minute, complimentary, consultancy session with our Head of Product Strategy. He will give you advice and guidance on how you can get to really know your customers and exceed their expectations.