Last week, I wrote about User Experience Design, one branch of the UX field. I discussed a bunch of heuristics that can help you design products users love. (If you need a reminder of those tips, check out this downloadable poster.) But how do you measure whether you’ve done well? That’s where UX research comes in. This critical part of any company measures users’ experience with your product or service. UX research can give great insight into what’s working and what needs work.
The Importance of UX Research
To understand more about why this matters, I interviewed Yulia Zakharchenko, a UX Designer at Pyrus. As she points out, “The main goal of any business is to increase your income and growth.” To do that, it’s critical to improve user experience. Yulia notes that “users have a huge choice among many options” these days. You’ll want to measure UX to figure out if you stand out in a competitive market.
This article, which compiles advice from members of the Forbes Business Council, agrees. The consensus is that good user experience will attract customers and keep them loyal to your brand. That’s very similar to what I wrote in this blog about customer service. (More on that connection later.) But it’s not just enough to believe your UX is good. Research comes in because you need to have data to show that.
As this Forbes article explains, measuring UX opens doors. First, it allows you to make data-driven decisions about moving forward. I explained the importance of this practice in this earlier post. Specifically, UX research can identify opportunities for you to grow. It then helps you quantify improvement over time. In addition, UX research helps you compare your product or service against competitors. Finally, conducting research with users makes them feel heard. So it’s a win-win for both companies and users!
What Are You Looking For?
So you’re sold on the importance of UX research. You might be wondering where to start, though. Fortunately, the US government has created an entire website to help you understand the critical components of user experience. Specifically, I found this page on the basics helpful.
In terms of what you’re trying to understand, there are a few main categories. First, you want to identify users’ needs. This helps you create and design products that people will find useful. In addition, you’ll want to identify expectations. If users expect your product to be portable, but you’ve designed it to be plugged in, you’re falling short. On a related note, figure out what users value. During the pandemic, companies like Zoom have done well by capitalizing on people’s value for social connection. One more important point: find out what limitations your users have. You don’t want your product, software, or service to be hard to understand or operate.
If you’re assessing the user experience of a particular product or service, you’ll want to collect data about how well it meets several criteria. First, it should be useful. This means it fills people’s needs. Second, it should be usable, or easy to use. Next, evaluate how desirable the product is. It might work great, but if no one wants to use or buy it, that’s no good! In addition, consider how findable your product is. If no one knows about it, that defeats the purpose. Accessibility is a key factor to assess. This blog post about accessibility explains why it matters and suggests some best practices. Lastly, learn how credible users believe you to be. If the content you’re providing doesn’t seem credible, you’ve lost your users.
Okay, now you know you want to conduct user experience research, and you know what to look for. But how? I asked Yulia Zakharchenko to tell me about some methods she uses at Pyrus. The first thing she mentioned is customer feedback. This is pretty simple. You probably hear back from users and customers already. The important thing is harnessing this feedback to inform what happens next. At Pyrus, as Yulia explains, “new features are created in our product or old ones are changed” in response to feedback.
Another method Yulia uses is Google Analytics. She uses this to track user actions within the product. This kind of data can give you great insight into how users are interacting with your product in real life. That’s information you won’t get in a lab setting.
Third, Yulia uses UX competitive analysis. This means that she’s not myopically focused on Pyrus. She understands that other companies are trying to compete, so she’s looking to help Pyrus stand out. According to Yulia, competitive analysis helps her compare Pyrus’s software to competitors on metrics like convenience to the user. It also helps her pinpoint user needs that other services aren’t addressing. That’s really giving Pyrus an edge!
Make the Most of UX Research
Like in any field, there are some best practices to know. This article compiles useful tips from members of the Forbes Business Council. For instance, you should conduct research with diverse users. You want to know how lots of different people feel about your product. To get more data, you’ll want to collect feedback continuously and utilize multiple channels. Fortunately, Pyrus offers tons of integrations to help you collect user feedback. In your research, embrace criticism. When you find an area of weakness, you’ll know that’s an easy place to make improvements! And always ask follow up questions when you can. Understanding the context for your users’ experience is key.
Connect to Customer Service
As I mentioned above, there are notable parallels between the importance of UX and the importance of customer service. In this blog post, I explained that business growth today depends on attracting loyal users. Well, that’s exactly why you should be conducting research on your users’ experience! As this research from Gartner highlights, we’re operating in an “experience economy” these days. How people experience your products and services matters tremendously.
This Forbes article makes the case for UX and Customer Service to work in tandem. Specifically, research should be coordinated. UX research often happens in advance of a product being developed. However customer service typically sends feedback surveys after they’ve already interacted with customers, who are also users. Instead, customer service and UX research should both collect data continuously throughout the process of product development. This article also advises unifying metrics for both research processes. That way, you can use a single overall measure to identify the quality of your users’ (aka customers’) experience with your company. As you improve, you’ll see that measure go up and up!
As you begin or continue your journey with UX research, you’ll want great tools to work with. Get Pyrus to keep your communication focused, your team productive, and your work moving forward!