How to start UX research easily?
We need to be user-centric to build a successful product. We must be close to our users to understand their feelings, pain points, and more. For that, you need to talk with users. But how to talk to users? What should I ask? When you start doing UX research, it could be challenging if you're outside the design industry, even if you have heard about user interviews, surveys, and focus groups. In this article, I will guide you on the first steps to listening to your customers.
You need to know that UX research should not be a one-time thing. Instead, continuous research is critical to gather insights that will impact your company. So, please consider setting up UX research as a new process for your team 😀 and contribute to the growth of this new discipline. Indeed, UX Research is still under-represented in product teams regarding the last studies on the subject.
What questions must you ask yourself before running your first UX research study?
What is your context?
Whatever your situation, user research is critical for your project. It can help you crash-test your idea, find your Product Market Fit, or improve your current solution. Indeed, it is essential to define your current stage and your ambition regarding the research you want to embrace. What is your goal? What is the problem you want to solve? Or, what topics do you want to explore to find paint points?
What is your industry?
Are you in the "Business to Business" industry or "Business to Customer"? Or a mix of that? Are you running a sass, an e-commerce business, or a physical product? What is your industry? Finance, design, automotive, and so on. The industry you work in can be an essential element because of the accessibility of your users. For some of you, it's easy to have access to your prospects or customers; for others, it is sometimes challenging. So it is essential to consider the time to connect with your audience.
"Whatever your situation, user research is critical for your project. It can help you crash-test your idea, find your Product Market Fit, or improve your current solution."
Let's see what you have in your bag.
You may think you start from zero, but you already have some data most of the time. For example, you maybe have some persona that you did in the early phase of your project, some analytics from your website or product, some tickets from support, and so on. In addition, you maybe have market research somewhere 👀. So take time to gather your current data and makes some analysis. You will probably find a pattern or identify some areas you want to explore. It will be your starting point. And don't panic if you don't have any material because it's sometimes easier to start from scratch ;-)
Define your target audience.
Speaking of users, defining the target you want to talk to is essential. Then, you can work with persona. To remind you, a persona is a collection of an archetype of your users. Building some before is important if you have not had a persona before your research. Why is it important? Because if you want to speak with users, you should know with whom you wish to talk. Don't be afraid; you can start from assumptions about users or potential users and refine personas following your research. That's the point, by the way.
Define your methodology
Once you know your ambition and target, you define the methodology. In this step, you are in the eye of the cyclone—the core of user research. Then, depending on your goals, skills, and time that you have in your hands, you will be able to run different methods. We can list some of them that you can do quickly.
User interview is fantastic because you can talk directly with users and feel their emotions. So you can start today, pick up your phone, prepare some questions in your notebook, and boom, you're doing some user research. Of course, it's a personal point of view, but I love user interviews because I like to talk with people and am comfortable with that kind of exercise. But I won't lie; it is sometimes hard to hear the truth. It hurts the ego, haha. But it's part of the game too.
If you're uncomfortable with user interviews, you can also send surveys to your personas. However, asking the right questions for the insights you need can be challenging. Moreover, we will write a series of articles regarding this particular topic. You must also know that the audience's engagement is the most common survey problem. Therefore, it can be challenging to have sufficient answers.
From that perspective, we used to recommend in-app surveys to boost engagement. In-app surveys help you ask questions in a context that engages more users to answer. For example, if a user visits a particular page or feature, you can request a question about it immediately and increase your chance of an answer. To punch this pain point, we created Told, which helps you to do in-app surveys.
Tips - Build trust with your audience.
Creating trust with your audience is critical to collecting valuable insight. The most your users are confident, the more they are honest and give you objective feedback. How to create trust? We could write an entire article about this subject, but the most important is to humanize your research and be natural. Show that you are an actual human and tell people you need help. You will be surprised to see user engagement.