User research can take the form of both unmoderated and moderated usability tests.
User research can also utilize a number of other research methodologies to pull quantitative and qualitative insights that can later be leveraged during the design process.
Conducting user research is central nowadays as creating ever-lasting experiences that seamlessly captivate your target audience becomes the standard for successful brands.
Here are the 5 steps to leverage user research in an agile product cycle. The methodology I will summarize will focus mainly on conducting an unmoderated usability test.
- The Kickoff
- Task Creation
- Demographic Targeting & Recruiting
- Test Creation & Launch
- Analysis & Reporting
The Kickoff meeting begins with all stakeholders joining together to discuss the key KPIs of the business, audience, and target personas for the end product may engage with.
Once the team has agreed on the key areas of focus you can begin to create the tasks that your end-user will complete while completing your usability test.
During the task creation process start to consider the key steps of the consumer journey. These are the questions you will ask to enable your user tester to complete in order to gain feedback on the experience and optimize for success.
When this task development is complete. Review the key tasks and double check to ensure the test questions make sense and are as unbiased as possible.
Depending on the user testing platform you use, the ability to filter for your “user personas” will be key in better targeting the type of tester you want to receive feedback from.
For example, usertesting.com is a phenomenal platform to capture insights fast. The platform also allows for extremely fast insights reporting which will enable your team to work agile and produce results that are easily able to translate to your designs.
Test Creation & Launch:
Implementing the test creation in the platform is pretty straight forward. You can upload the test questions and set the urls for each step and landing experience for your users to engage with.
It is important to make sure you double check and preview the test before launch. There have been many tests that have caused me to re-launch due to minor errors.
Once this step is complete you can launch the test and wait for participants to complete each test. This process usually takes 24-48hrs for full completion.
Analysis & Reporting
Every researcher has a different set of observational skills that enables them to record valuable insights.
The reporting process consists mostly of pattern recognition and analyzing on-site interactions that deemed whether the user actually passed the task at hand.
Once notes are fully documented the recommendation would be to create a presentation to digest the insights and better make the research more actionable.
In most cases stakeholders will review the insights and further iterate on the existing design and experience.