In the majority of cases, future owners of digital solutions ask themselves why they actually need UX research in the process of discovery activities. They have serious doubts about such an aspect. Still, one shall remember that User Experience serves to describe how the audience interacts with a digital solution.
In fact, UX design serves to carry out the below key tasks:
Recently, Jared M. Spool has carried out research which has proven that even one slight adjustment (say, the change of the name of the button), if implemented wisely, can significantly increase sales growth (in the case of the Best Buy resource that increase has reached $300 million annually). So, do you still have any doubts about the necessity of conducting UX research during the software development discovery phase? Let’s figure out the details to convince even the most inveterate skeptics.
Being considered as the easiest technique, the mentioned approach is made to calculate different quantitative indicators of digital products. It serves for software owners to find answers to multiple questions, including:
● How many users visited a specific website page?
● What’s the percentage of visitors that have clicked on the CTA?
● How many visitors have managed to finish the checkout phase?
Those are only a few examples of questions for you to get the point of this UX research. After having processed and analyzed the obtained data, you could realize what design components shall be adjusted to ensure a better user experience. That’s the reason why such studies are critical during the Discovery process.
Here’s a completely different story, a much more difficult one. The thing is that it’s not that easy to deal with the info that can’t be clearly evaluated by means of numbers. During this kind of analysis, one shall ask more why-questions, rather than how-many-questions. Here, the task is not to find out HOW MANY people don’t press the CTA button. You shall determine WHY people don’t do it.
That job is rather challenging, but professional Discovery specialists are qualified to successfully take care of it. We shall distinguish the key methods that are used to carry out qualitative UX research.
● Watching the users. It’s both simple and efficacious. To make the most of it, first of all, you shall have a clear understanding of who your targeted audience is, how to find those people, what their preferences are, and the like. Knowing nothing about your potential users won’t help you observe them since you won’t even know where to look for them.
● Taking polls. Simply observing will hardly be enough, so other instruments must be implemented as well. Why not run dedicated surveys to collect the users’ data you require? Ask the audience what you want to know about it.
● Dealing with focus groups. It’s not something new, right? Clearly, such a method will require more financial investments compared to, say, surveys. The mentioned approach implies you choose individuals from your potential audience and pay them for the services they provide you with.
● Thorough interviewing. It’s more like real-life communication. It allows asking any questions you need to figure out what is a perfect user experience for your audience.
● A/B testing. Here we go back to the quantitative type of analysis. The given approach won’t manage to provide you with data on why this or that happens, only cold numbers. Also, you’ll need to involve a large number of people to obtain accurate results, thus, it might be pretty expensive.
Obviously, more options could be added to that list, but the presented ones are the key approaches. What tools to go for will depend on project specifications, budget, and timeframes.
There exist different artifacts one can resort to while carrying out Discovery activities. Here are the key ones.
That’s the perfect moment to make your sketches, which could be both created by hand on a piece of paper, or drawn more professionally on a computer. The main thing here is to remember that they are pretty rough and most like will be changed at later stages. By prototypes, we also mean wireframes, mockups, as well as interactive prototypes.
Such a tool is meant to reflect users’ experience while applying the given software. It describes the feelings and thoughts of the audience. The User Journey Map allows a comprehensive visualization of the path people take through an app or site. Sometimes the User Journey Map gets confused with product navigation, but that’s not it.
This artifact is more about users at the moment of pursuing the dedicated action, whether it’s purchasing goods, ordering specific services, reserving tickets, etc.
Such an artifact serves to visualize the path users take, so “path” and “flow” are rather synonyms in this case. User Flow reflects the sequence of steps the audience has to take to get what’s desired. It could demonstrate one separate feature, or even visualize a digital solution as a whole.
At the very beginning of the project, when you still don’t have a clear concept, Mind Map would be an ideal instrument to start the process. Actually, it represents a diagram with blocks that serves to figure out the logic of your future software. This artifact also enables establishing the key interrelationships.
Here’s one more artifact that shall be resorted to while carrying out the Discovery stage. It’s used to carefully consider the logic of a digital solution you’re working on. It could also be applied for visualizing the biggest pains your target audience has. The given means is excellent since it allows you to pick the most optimal solution capable of fully matching users' requirements and expectations.