We love collaborating with our clients to help produce delightful online experiences. When you work with us to make decisions based on research, you can turn your website and app users into your biggest fans. Here’s how we work with our clients.
Step 1: Getting to know your business and audience
Our experience working with many different types of companies helps us get context quickly on every project. In addition, each new client has a unique set of needs and goals. Some clients have a specific audience that they’d like to reach or would like our help better refining their target audience. At the beginning of each project, we assess your particular needs, then use a handful of tools to learn all that we can. For example:
- We often interview business stakeholders on your team to get a clear picture of your goals and take advantage of your team’s deep industry expertise.
- We might do competitor research. This can include a broad look at your competitors, or we may focus on one or two particular experiences or elements to see how companies in a variety of industries address that need. For example, we might look at the experience of adding photographs to a mobile app, which people do in many different types of apps.
- We might conduct a workshop with your team to help clearly define the problem and tap their wealth of knowledge for short-term solutions. We have used variations of Google’s Design Sprint technique with great success, or we might use other ideation session methods.
Whatever our tools, we emphasize collaboration with your team, and we do our best to put your team’s invaluable knowledge and background to work in order to find the most efficient path to meeting your goals.
Step 2: Research planning
Once everyone clearly understands the problems we’re trying to solve, the competitive landscape, and any other relevant details, we move on to planning a course of research that will produce the answers you’re looking for. We do a variety of different types of research depending on specific scenarios and requirements. Here are a few common approaches:
- User Interviews. Our researchers meet with members of your target audience and discuss each person’s thoughts about the topic in a scripted interview.
- A qualitative study to test prototyped concepts for usability and desirability. This typically involves sharing prototypes in a 30-90 minute recorded session. Our researchers observe people using the prototype to accomplish specific tasks, and ask them to narrate their reactions as they do so.
- Usability research. In this type of study, our researchers present a live app or website to members of your target audience and observe them working through a handful of tasks to identify areas where the product can be improved.
- Quantitative methods such as A/B testing, where we show 2 variants of a page to users on a live website or app and measure how the variations affect target behaviors.
- We use card sorting and tree testing to help design or redesign a website’s information architecture. These research tools allow us to understand how members of your target audience sort and label the information you would like to present. These studies can be qualitative or quantitative depending on your needs.
This is not an exhaustive list, but rather just a few common examples. The Nielsen Norman Group provides a more comprehensive list of research techniques. We draw from a similar list when designing client studies.
Whatever the method, we’ll ensure that it’s right for your project, and then tailor it to meet your goals.
Step 3: Conducting the research
Once we’ve designed your study, there’s nothing left to do but start talking to people about your product. Most study designs begin with a round of recruitment, where we seek out participants with appropriate characteristics. This can be as easy as posting a callout on social media or as complex as hiring a recruitment firm to use a phone bank to collect the desired number of respondents with the particular characteristics we need.
Once we have a list of willing participants, we’ll schedule time with them as the study design dictates. Depending on the study design, this might be a phone or online interview, an in-person session, or we may ask participants to perform tasks online on their own time.
Wherever possible, we record the sessions for later review. We often invite stakeholders to observe sessions, as we have found there is no better way to convey people’s needs than for product stakeholders to directly observe them trying to use the products in question. Our client teams are always surprised by what they learn when they observe users!
Step 4: Understanding the findings
There are a number of ways to approach analysis, but our favorite is what we call a collaborative findings session. The idea is that we pull together the project stakeholders with our researchers and go through a collaborative analysis process in a few steps:
- We all observe the research sessions and take notes with a focus question in mind.
- We then compare notes on a whiteboard to collaboratively tease out key observations from the user sessions.
- We then work together to prioritize the findings with a voting process.
Again and again, we’ve found that this collaborative method allows us to take full advantage of our research and UX expertise alongside your industry and product expertise. It produces a list of the most impactful findings that, when addressed, dramatically improve clients’ products. Further, stakeholders are far more invested in making changes when they directly observe users struggling to use or understand their products.
If we are short on time, our researchers can also conduct the analysis independently and produce a findings report.
Step 5: Solutions
Once we identify and prioritize areas of focus, we work with your team to produce a list of solutions to key problems that can either be implemented directly or tested for refinement.
Like the findings analysis process, we often work directly with client stakeholders to brainstorm solutions so that we are sure to take full advantage of your team members’ detailed understanding of your capabilities and constraints. In other words, we work hard to present solutions that are efficient, achievable and appropriate for your situation.
Have questions about our process? Contact us.