While many people are busy deciding which gym to join, diet to try or bad habit to break… the new year is the best time to embrace some new habits that actually have a great ROI: namely, beginning or expanding your team or company’s UX research efforts.
At the heart of every great product or service is good user research. The Nielsen Norman Group, a UX Research and Consultancy firm, says ongoing UX activities, among them Qualitative Usability Testing and Benchmark Testing, make the entire team’s work more effective and valuable.
“At every stage in the design process, different UX methods can keep product-development efforts on the right track, in agreement with true user needs and not imaginary ones.” - Nielsen Norman Group
If you haven’t tested your site or app with real users in the last 6 months or even a year, it’s time to start planning now. Getting a lay of the land will help you to better understand your customer’s pain points, and make improvements for a better year ahead.
Below are 3 ways you can get a jump on good UX for 2018.
As technology changes, so too does the way your customers and clients use the web. New advancements in mobile, voice and artificial intelligence in 2017 have dramatically altered the way people interact with their digital world. And many analysts predict the pace of that innovation will increase considerably in 2018.
Before jumping head first into a major redesign, it’s helpful to understand where you’ve been. Your current site or app is the customer’s main touch point with your company, and can affect how they perceive your organization and its priorities.
A Benchmark User Experience Study will give you invaluable insight on how long it takes real users to complete tasks on your site, whether they can complete them at all, and any major errors or pain points they stumble upon along the way.
Use this data as a starting point. Meet with business stakeholders, product, marketing and UX teams to strategize the priorities for the new year and what can be improved. You can focus on simple improvements to an existing experience, plan out an entire redesign based on your usability findings, or a combination of the two. It’s up to your business priorities to determine the biggest needs and best returns.
You don’t need a degree in IT for somebody to tell you embarking on a major redesign is costly, especially if you make some bad choices along the way. While good planning can help you avoid a lot of costly missteps, you can guarantee better success with putting real concepts out there for users to try.
Prototype User Testing can be as simple or complex as your team feels necessary.
At Userlytics, we’ve tested everything from simple wireframes and comps, to high fidelity prototypes with back-end logic. It’s in your best interest to create concepts and then put them in front of real users, to test your assumptions. The basic pattern should look like this:
After a few cycles, you will identify major problems and work through them quickly to avoid pricey mishaps down the road.
It may seem counterintuitive, but planning a user test around the sites of some of your biggest competitors can be hugely beneficial. In tight markets where the competitive edge is razor thin, understanding your rival’s pain points can give you an advantage.
Testing a competitor’s site gives you insights into:
You can also test your own site against a competitor, seeing which implementation of a feature or design better resonates with users, or has unforeseen pitfalls. This is especially helpful when a competitor has a feature you want to incorporate. Thus, you can do an A/B or prototype test without having to spend your own development dollars! Userlytics can help you with all of your user testing needs, no matter how small or big the effort.