Post by
Nasir Uddin
Published
February 14, 2024
Catregory
UX Design
Read time
5 min

Designing a product without understanding the pain points and requirements of your users means you are shooting a gun into the dark. Leaving your product's user-friendliness solely to design without knowing the needs is like wasting your time. 

This is where UX research is the key. It ensures you meet the user's expectations and provide a memorable experience. However, when it comes to conducting a study without costing a lot of time, money, and effort, a proven strategy can be the savior.

In this guide, we will discuss the effective and proven strategy for UX research. From identifying your audience to connecting research to larger business objectives, you'll get the insights you need. Let's take on this insightful journey to realize the full potential of your user-centered design process.

Why Do You Need A UX Research Strategy?

You need a UX research strategy mainly to make the research process quick, efficient, and cost-effective. Here are a few other points that describe why you need it: 

  • To emphasize the value of research across your organization and teams
  • To better understand shifts in mental models and experiences
  • To establish checkpoints, reinforce the importance of research, and create a culture of constant learning
  • To connect your long-term direction and strategy to customers' and users' deepest needs
  • To optimize for growth and development while keeping user needs at the center
  • To solve the right problems

When Do You Need a UX Research Strategy?

It's a common misconception that user research is only needed for new products; however, it's also necessary for existing ones. Here are the situations when you need it:

Developing New Products 

The main challenge when designing a new product is making it user-friendly and ensuring a seamless experience. This is where the UX research makes its impression. To keep the users in the center, you need to reach the end users and stakeholders to understand their pain points and requirements.

In this type of situation, an optimal UX research strategy can help you to conduct the research impactfully by saving you time and money.

Revamp Existing Products

Every product has a life cycle. After running successfully for some time, they decline. It can be for many reasons, such as market changes, demographic changes, and new innovations penetrating the market. 

From those small-box televisions, we now have large flat TV screens. We don't only watch channels anymore on TVs. The usage has also changed. Now, it is used for gaming, Video calls, presentations, surfing, and so on. 

So, to redesign products to cope with market trends, you need solid research strategies to stay agile. 

Customer retention alone will not result in growth. You must find new ways to grow, including a combination of user research strategies and tactics. The crux of growth experimentation is UX research and usability testing. 

You can enable and disable specific features for specific users based on the results of usability testing.

Companies like Netflix and LinkedIn maximize customer value through product development experimentation based on a solid user research strategy. This strategy goes beyond conversions, customer acquisition, and retention to make your product indispensable in the lives of your customers, resulting in growth.

How to Do a Successful UX Research In 5 Easy Steps?

As you now know why and when you need a UX research strategy, let’s go through how to build one. 

1. Define the Objectives of Research

Defining the objective of UX research is like setting a roadmap for your journey to understand your customers or users better. It's a crucial step in the research process because it guides your efforts and helps you make the most of your research.

Start by thinking about why you're doing the research in the first place. Suppose you're a hotel chain trying to enhance the customer experience. Your first objective might be understanding what the current customer experience is like. This sets the stage for your research.

Now, refine and specify your objectives. Make sure they're doable. This is like fine-tuning your plan to choose the right tools and methods, reducing confusion and wasted time during your research.

Write well-defined research objectives. These are like the pillars of your study. They give you a strong foundation, ensuring your research is meaningful and focused. They also help you decide how to tackle your study.

Keep your objective in mind at all times. It's like your compass, guiding every task and question you create. This way, you can structure your research, find the right participants, and ask the right questions.

Be specific with your objectives. The more precise they are, the easier it is to create tasks and questions. Specific objectives help you find clear answers during your research.

Make sure your objectives match the big project goal. Your research objectives should be in sync with the project's main purpose and questions. They should also tell you which tools and methods to use and what results you can expect.

After defining the objectives, write down everything found out from this step. 

2. Create Hypothetical Situations On Defined Objectives

Once you've defined objectives in mind, it's time to make an educated guess or an assumption about what you think will happen. We call this educated guess your hypothesis. Your hypothesis should be a clear and testable statement.

It’s always better to come up with more and more hypotheses so that you can test and experiment with them all. 

After you've formed your hypothesis, you'll need to conduct tests or experiments to see if it holds up. This is where you gather data and observe what's happening.

Now comes the analysis part. You look at the results from your tests. Did the data support your hypothesis, or did it show that your guess was incorrect?

If your hypothesis turned out to be correct, that's fantastic! You're on the right track. But if it wasn't supported, don't worry. It's an opportunity to learn and adjust your hypothesis. This adjustment will guide your next steps in your research or project.

Remember, the key to a good hypothesis is that it's clear, concise, and can be tested. It's a valuable tool for improving the user experience or achieving your goal. So, keep it simple and focused to gain the best insights!

Here's an example of a hypothesis for a UX research study:

  • Problem: Users are struggling to find the checkout button on an e-commerce website.
  • Hypothesis: If we move the checkout button to a more prominent position on the page, then the number of completed purchases will increase.
  • Variables: The independent variable is the position of the checkout button, and the dependent variable is the number of completed purchases.

3. Choose Methods To Fill The Gaps With Your Findings

When you're doing UX research, it's like being a detective for user experiences. You want to ensure you choose the right methods to fill in the gaps you find. No single method is perfect, so it's a good idea to mix it up.

To enhance your investigative toolkit, think of it as using different tools for different situations. Surveys, interviews, focus groups, usability testing, and tree testing can each shed unique light on your users' experiences. This versatile combination helps you gain a comprehensive understanding of what your users need and how they behave.

Once you've gathered data from these methods, gap analysis becomes your treasure map to improving UX. To make that map truly shine, you need to incorporate the insights and information you've acquired. Extract valuable data from interviews, usability tests, or analytics to pinpoint those areas where your UX needs a little tender loving care.

Sometimes, we assume users are tech-savvy, but that's not always true. It's essential to understand your users' skills and knowledge accurately. Research helps you see the real deal, and then you can figure out how to bridge the gaps in their understanding and support their decision-making process.

Now, consider prototyping as a test drive for your design. Creating prototypes during research lets you uncover problems and obstacles early on. It's like diagnosing issues before they become major headaches, ensuring your design decisions are right on the money.

4. Conduct Data Collection From Selected Methods 

This part is all about gathering data from the method you’ve selected above. Take note of every feedback and reaction of the participants. Once you've gathered all this data, it's time to make sense of it. That means looking at the information and figuring out what it tells you about your product and the people who use it.

If you're using different sources to collect data, it's a good idea to make sure all the information is in a similar format. This makes it easier to compare and analyze.

Source: Researchgate.net

To keep all this data organized, you can use tools like Google Docs, spreadsheets, or special software for this kind of research. These tools help you store, analyze, and even make charts or graphs to help you see any important patterns or trends.

5. Validate and Invalidate Your Hypothesis With Collected Data 

To validate and invalidate your hypothesis, you can follow a structured process that includes several key stages.

First up, we have Data Synthesis. After you've collected all your research data, this is where you start making sense of it all. Think of it like putting together a puzzle. You're combining user experiences, thoughts, and behaviors to create a clear and complete picture of the data.

During the synthesis process, asking the right questions is crucial. These questions act as your guide in analyzing and making decisions. They help you uncover meaningful insights from the data and keep you on track with your research. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What am I learning? Summarize the key takeaways from your data.
  • Is what I've learned changing how we should frame the original research objective? Consider whether your findings require you to adjust your research goals.
  • Did we validate or invalidate our hypotheses? This is a crucial one. Determine if your initial assumptions (hypotheses) have been confirmed or challenged by the data.
  • Is there a pattern in the data that suggests new design considerations? Look for common themes or trends that can inform your design decisions.
  • What are the implications of what I’m designing? Think about the real-world impact of your design choices.
  • What outputs are most important for communicating what we’ve discovered? Decide how to communicate your findings effectively to your team and stakeholders.
  • Do I need to change what design activities I plan to do next? Consider if your design process should be adjusted based on the insights gained.

What gaps in knowledge have I uncovered and might need to research at a later date? Identify any areas where you need more information.

The next step is to create actionable findings based on the answers to these questions. It's important to ensure that your findings are concise and straightforward, clearly articulating what you've learned. These findings form the basis for the next steps.

Let's say you conducted UX research on a mobile app for food delivery. In your research, the findings are users prefer an intuitive and simple ordering interface, track the delivery process easily, and access payment information quickly. Also, they prioritize a seamless and efficient experience over cluttered and confusing apps.

Now that you have actionable findings, you can revise your design. Based on your new insights, make necessary changes in your wireframes or prototypes. By putting the insights from your research into practice, this step ensures that your design aligns with user needs and expectations.

As you validate or invalidate your hypotheses and adjust your design accordingly, you gain confidence in your solution. Now, your decisions are based on real user feedback, not assumptions. This confidence is invaluable as it reduces the risk of design choices that may not resonate with your target audience.

Finally, after implementing your design changes, evaluate and iterate. This means going back to the research learning spiral to assess whether your new design aligns with user preferences. It's great if it does! If not, don't give up. UX design is an iterative process, and you can use the feedback to make further improvements.

Conclusion

Planning for user research is crucial at every stage of the product development process, including requirements collection, UX design, development, and post-launch. All UX research initiatives serve to further a particular research objective at any stage of the product development lifecycle.

The specific objectives of UX research will be to define or improve a business problem, identify and comprehend a target audience, and define the parameters of early product launches. To get the most accurate outcome, you need a reliable UX research team and designer who will give you the best possible solutions you need

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is UX Research Strategy? 

UX research strategy is a process of decentralizing design for constant and insightful iteration to meet the users' needs.  A good user experience strategy helps you to conduct impactful and efficient research. As a result, you can design the most memorable experiences and ensure they happen at every point where the user interacts with your product.

How do you create a UX research strategy or plan?

Creating a UX research strategy involves defining research goals, identifying research methods, determining the scope and timeline of the research, selecting participants, and establishing a plan for data analysis and interpretation.

What are the 5 levels of UX strategy?

The five levels of UX strategy are: (1) Brand Strategy, (2) Business Strategy, (3) UX Vision and Principles, (4) UX Objectives and Goals, and (5) UX Tactics and Deliverables. These levels align UX with the overall goals and objectives of the business and ensure a user-centered approach throughout the design process.

What are the three elements for a UX strategy?

The three key elements for a UX strategy are: (1) User Research, (2) Design Principles, and (3) Business Goals. User research helps understand user needs and preferences, design principles guide the design process, and business goals align UX with the overall business objectives.

What is a typical UX research plan?

A typical UX research plan includes defining research objectives, selecting appropriate research methods such as usability testing, interviews, surveys, or analytics, identifying target users, setting a timeline, allocating resources, and planning for data analysis and reporting. It also includes considerations for ethical research practices and participant recruitment.

Table of Contents
Nasir Uddin
CEO at Musemind
Nasir Uddin, Co-Founder and CEO at Musemind, brings over a decade of experience in dynamic UX design. With a background at prestigious companies like Panther, On Deck, Microsoft, and Motley Fool. His leadership has transformed Musemind into a trusted destination for comprehensive product design solutions.
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