Whether you’re working on a redesign of your company website or you’re building an app for a new business, user experience research is a must.
Understanding the needs of your audience and the way in which they interact with your design is key to success, and skimping on research may have negative effects on the usability and engagement levels of your end product.
However, UX research can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
Whilst multinational businesses can afford to spend thousands on researching into the most effective UX techniques to make their app or website more engaging, the chances are that you don’t have the financial or technical resources to do the same.
All is not lost, though, as below, we round up five ways to research into your niche and audience and nail user experience without spending a fortune.
By showing users two different options and asking them which they prefer, you can make changes to your navigation, landing pages or app design.
You can ask users for their feedback after showing them both, or you can use analytics to show differing pages to different users and see which generates the most conversions and has the lowest bounce rate.
Once you have the feedback or data to hand, your web designer or app developer can use it to create a new version of your website or app, pulling together the best features from both versions.
Neil Patel’s Beginner’s Guide to A/B Testing is a great place to start if you’re new to the concept.
If you’re on a tight budget but want to collect data on your audience, then analytics is the best place to start.
Tools such as Google Analytics (and Google Analytics for Mobile Apps) are excellent for collecting insights from users and understanding how and where your product is being used.
By analyzing data, you will be able to determine how long it takes for users to complete tasks, what features are most popular on your website, where your users go once they leave your site, and their typical path when using your website or app.
You can use this to improve user experience, whether that’s by changing your navigation or adding new tools and features.
Meeting your target audience face-to-face in an informal setting is a great way to gather users’ thoughts and preferences on issues like navigation, design and colour schemes, and it’s a tried and tested technique that has been used by researchers for years.
But it’s not fail-proof; some argue that focus groups encourage ‘group thinking’ rather than allowing for individual opinions.
The key to running a successful focus group is to invite four to six users from different walks of life and directly observe each user.
You should also consider running more than one focus group, as the outcome of one session may not be representative of your wider user base.
If you want to ensure you’re creating an app or website that speaks to your users and includes the UX elements that will make a difference, then get in touch with your power users or repeat buyers.
Remember to identify key areas you’d like to discuss before starting a session, and have the information and resources to hand to allow for discussions, comparisons and critique.
If organising a focus group is too difficult, then consider remote interviews. Online tools like Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts mean that you can speak to your stakeholders and ask for their opinions on a redesign.
Remote interviews won’t provide you with the volume of data that other methods will, such as questionnaires or analytics, but they allow for one-on-one discussions and can help you get to know your customer base on a more personal level.
Indeed, a chat with one of your valued customers may help you to uncover a usability issue or a problem with your design that stops them from making orders or return visits.
Individual chats allow you to focus on certain issues and get personal, targeted, and blunt feedback – but speaking to a cross-section of users individually may take up too much time if you’re in a rush.
Online questionnaires are another way to collect data and understand your audience.
But in order to get a true picture of your customer’s needs, pain-points and desires when using your product, you need to ask the right questions and make sure your questionnaire is engaging.
Once you’ve put together your survey on Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, use social media, email marketing and your website to ask users to submit answers.
Use comparative research questions such as ‘how many times do you visit our website?’ so that you can tally up the data, descriptive questions such as ‘what do you think of our app?’ to get in-depth feedback, and relationship-based questions, like ‘when was the last time you purchased from us?’ to get an understanding of the value of the respondent.
If you’ve asked the right questions, you should have received enough data to create an action plan for your website or app redesign.
If you’re struggling to encourage customers to fill out your questionnaire, consider incentivising them by offering a discount code or a free product in exchange for their time.
It’s important to consider, though, that freebies or an entry to a competition may lead customers to submit the sort of responses you want to hear, rather than them sharing their true opinions.
User research doesn’t have to be expensive or take up a lot of time – indeed, it’s the inexpensive methods we have listed that are usually the starting point for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
The truth is that, with a limited budget, you might not be able to get all of the data that you need to truly optimise your user experience, but the alternative is to do no research at all, so spending at least some of your time getting to know the wants and pain-points of your users will help.
At Zudu, user experience plays an essential role in the design and development of our custom apps and websites. To find out more about how we can help to transform your business through UX design, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team today on 01382 690080.