1. UX Research
This is the first step of UX CheckList /Steps where I explained a very important step known as ‘UX research’. Research about your competitors with your market analysis and collect all the information. After research, analyze data either you collect it from your existing web analytics or buy the related data or survey results. Customer feedback – it’s important especially when you are planning to re-launch your brand. Collect all videos and feedback and serve accordingly.
All these steps are part of the UX process and I categorized these steps into 9 steps, I hope you will enjoy this first step. Join our newsletter and we will keep you updated with next steps.
1.1 Competitive Analysis: Study Your Market
User-centric design and content are two sides of the same coin in a web or mobile product. While one focuses on the subject, other information. But amongst these what takes the edge is-context. It is the context that makes a product thrive. Talk about a simple website or an advanced app, certainly, it plays a major role to make a web design compelling.
But why Competitive Analysis?
Competitive Analysis is conducting thorough research of the market scenario to have an idea of the contenders involved in the race of the web domain. That is, knowing the game, the players and then planning the moves so as to be at top of the heap. Understanding their strategies, dimensions, and approach will definitely put you ahead in the challenges of WebSphere. It can even raise the bar of performance and set the growth scales rolling for your company. Further, such a practice can also widen the horizon of the web professionals as they get wise to the knowledge of the products and the workings. They will know their onions in the forthcoming projects as well.
What’s more? By making an analysis, you can learn how to place your cards as you will know the trends that are driving the competition. For instance, if the buzz is more for the definite content and service in the market, the users’ expectations will also rise to the same. And if you fail to match, it’s the competitor who will take the lead. As it is, lead generation is directly proportional to the quality of user experience.
So, how to go about it? Become a strategist and learn from the error in the ways of the competitor. Adopting a new approach will always help you to ace; it’s like taking the cue and then adding on to it. Also, following this methodology will bring in light to the viewpoints of the team members which will ultimately extend the dialog and provide innovative solutions or for that matter a completely different insight.
The Subjective Side
Competitive analysis includes both the components: quantitative (involving figures) and qualitative (not dealing with figures). The first and the foremost aspect for evaluating the data is to maintain a record for content and the services (provided on the website), that is, the informative search and the availed benefits. There can be discrepancies because of multiple analyzes, but that doesn’t mean you make inapt low-level records. Such inventories will lose the purpose of analyzing the websites of the competitors by giving vague details that are irrelevant. Instead, make records that are specialized and high-level as they can make useful comparisons through relevant information. In case of lengthy projects, the methodology adopted is to test on the labeling and categorizations so as to assess the users’ preference for such distributions. Graphic design, too, is an important parameter to judge the look-and-feel of the websites in the market. The extent and the scope for improvement can be determined by evaluating various heuristics such as consistent design, efficient navigation, organizational clarity and many others so as to set a fixed standard.
The Numbers that Speak
Analysis can be done on quantitative lines by creating ranks for the scores obtained in the heuristics evaluation. Comparisons can be deduced on individual and aggregate terms. User testing can also include studying the data based on relative metrics such as time taken, a number of clicks, success rates, etc. and then giving the ratings based on its result. Statistics determining search engine favorability definitely pronounce the success rate of the marketing efforts by the competitors.
Giving the Overview
The report explaining the competitive analysis should highlight the parameters of content and functionality spread across the top four regional and national competitors. The competitors offering considerably higher functionality in varied areas and refined content are best illustrated through charts which further closes down on recommendations as a conclusion to curb this competitive gap. Competitive analysis should always be conducted with an open mind so as to value the right information and infer the correct outcome.
1.2 Data Analysis: Beyond Benefits
Data does give a verdict. Indeed, it calls the best. Data analytics had been a prime mover for devising strategic marketing plans and schemes, but over a span of time, it has been catered as a great tool for usability tests and for paving the way in research and design. However, its winsome appeal tends to misguide sometimes. Data analytics does not offer striking results always and might suffer on the grounds of limitations like meaningful metrics, applicable measures and even relevant answers. To derive the best out of it, web professionals should use it as a support to the prevailing techniques and methods. Being a great utility weapon, data analytics can arm up in a lot of areas such as:
Working along with the optimization professionals, UX strategists spread their wings high. Besides framing the designing process, they execute different plans to meet the needs of the users as well fulfill the goals of the web product. Data metrics can be used to indicate issues and for guidelines to review the performance. It also assists in forming measurement plans through bigger actions like final conversions, smaller tasks such visits, clicks, forms etc. and relevant web metrics so as to address the issues likely to happen.
Analytics can be used to deduce hypothesis that further helps in investigating the causes for such issues. The causes that help to infer the reasons for the issues are namely traffic, technical, content, navigation and visual design. Traffic issues concerns the origin of the traffic and how it affects the page visits. Technical mainly deals with the investigation of the problems of technical nature, example, page loadings, downloading etc. Content and visual design deals with the text and the visual elements that affect the usage and hinders the calls to action. Navigation is important to give a set direction and hereby involves the issues related to the links, clicks or buttons.
This method is used to supplement the investigations of the qualitative data and further collect solutions to sort the matter. Short scale qualitative tests such as one based on usability although involves lot of risk and errors, but nevertheless can be a quick determinant of the potential problem and even set the ground for large-scale comparisons with correct estimates.
Data analytics has become a necessity to thrive in the WebSphere as it helps to correlate, persuade the people involved and rectify the issues as and when needed. Keeping up with the demand, UX professionals need to be versed with the metrics of the analytics and hence add value through these useful features.
1.3 Understanding Your User: User Research
Research is, knowing your users well. Their doing, liking, wants, needs, basically, everything governing their actions. It helps us to gather an insight which we can use further to inform, design and develop our products and services. Research starts in the discovery stage of product development wherein a simple act of observation is done to learn about the people’s view on a particular product or tool. In life cycling stage, conducting research can assess the right position and state of the product. It can be done through usability testing in which you can get the audience perspective of the product, their level of understanding and their browsing satisfaction in terms of information obtained. Once the product has finally launched in its life, customer surveys, feedback, questionnaires and whole range of techniques can be utilized to determine the degree of impact on the users. The extensive categories of user research are-
Product research can further be divided into the qualitative and quantitative type. The qualitative techniques are rigorous, thoroughgoing and usually scaled-down. These consist of focus groups, one-on-one interviews; mainly to evaluate unstructured data. On the other hand, quantitative approach deals with a higher scale analysis through techniques like online surveys, face –to-face interviews and follow an orderly pattern for collection and evaluation. Agencies either hire specialists for product research or do it in-house provided there are skilled professionals and competent software.
It consists of the same types as product research and is mainly used to analyze the constituents of the web product or service by way of looking at the market, audience and prevailing trends. Strategic research is an extended research on the secondary data to study the research that has already been conducted on the project like articles, papers etc. and further supplementing it with information.
Assisted Digital Research
While conducting the research process, the researcher may find a category of users who are not online and thus have to be evaluated as per their digital skills. This might include those who can independently access the service but require initial help to build the confidence and also the type who are sure of their skills and can handle the service single handedly. Vigilant approach is required to assess this bracket in the research procedure.
Directions for Effective Research –
- Be aware of the lifecycle of the product so that right methods and techniques can be adopted at the right time.
- Collaborate with the development team. Get them involved in the research process prior to the design stage itself.
- Must have an idea of the real end users. The audience- their ways, means, perspective and ideologies; know them all.