core skills- research

Without research, you're just doing it with the lights off.

Call them what you like: users, consumers, customers, friends or foes. Understanding them is pretty much the foundation of your business. But you’d be surprised how often companies don’t see it as a vital component of the design process, usually due to the cost.

Here’s a little secret – it won’t cost a lot when done right! Whether budgets are large or small, there is always a solution.​

Approach

My approach varies and depends on three things; number one, budgets and timescales. These are fundamental in reaching a good understanding of what we can achieve.

Number two is to understand what knowledge you already have, if you have existing users or not, has your marketing department already conducted any research? Something you think is worthless might well be beneficial.

And finally, number three, a clear understanding of your goals and objectives. What are you trying to understand? What is the purpose of the research? What outputs do you want at the end of the process? Understanding this enables me to make an informed decision on the right methodologies to implement to get the most out of the budget.

While there isn’t a one size fits all approach to research, you can rest assured that I will use the best and scientifically validated research methods to gather the knowledge and data you require to further your product.

Experience

I am a massive advocate for user research and believe it to be the very rock-bed of any design project, to have a deep understanding of the market place, the competitors and the users allow me to create products fit for purpose.



I have been researching for over ten years, continually learning and adapting my processes to fit the business and their budgets. From conglomerates to small and medium-sized companies.

I have conducted successful research projects enabling teams to make informed decisions that benefit not just the product but the overall business—experienced in adapting to working methodologies, budgets and timescales—allowing you to continue, business as usual.

 

A selection of methodologies

Every project is different, below are a selection of methodologies I use to get you your results, what I use depends entirely on the demographic of your user base, your budgets and time constraints. 

Usability testing

Analytics, or quantitative data, if you want to sound clever, is the numbers, the page visits, the bounces, the how many, the how long. When analysed correctly this data shows gaps in your product, shows where to focus further investigative techniques.

Diary Studies

Diary studies are extremely insightful in getting a day to day look at how users interact with your product or service and this is usually followed up with a recorded interview to analyse the findings.

Interviews

Interviews come in many shapes and sizes, from talking to someone who has no knowledge of your business to contextual interviews with people who interact with your product every day.

First Contact

A collection of easy tests that are aimed at understanding a user’s unbiased reaction, such as the 5-second test, first click testing and preference testing to name a few.

Task Analysis

Observing how users behave in their current environment, prior or post use of your product. This enables a deep understanding of where the pitfalls are, enabling innovation and product development.

Usability Scales

Online surveys, SUS, NPS, whichever you prefer. These serve two purposes; to set a baseline to observe improvement over time and to get an understanding of the current feelings towards your product.

Data Analysis

Data analysis involves going through any available data, which can be either quantitative or qualitative data, or a mixture of the two. Data tells a story and allows us to concentrate on the right aspect of your product at the right time.

Ethnographic Field Study

An ethnographic field study requires watching and interacting with users in their real life environment, either at home, at work or whilst commuting.

Focus Groups

Focus groups if done incorrectly, can lead to dirty data. The key is to understand the room, ask non-leading questions and not let any one participant become the group spokesperson.

Questionnaires

Questionnaires can be done one of 3 ways; whilst the user is on the website, through email or a randomised list of participants that match your key demographics.

Competitor Analysis

It’s always important to understand your market place, what’s working for your competitors and what isn’t. Remember, just because they’ve launched a new feature doest mean it’s having any return on investment for them.

Benchmarking

Benchmarking is an often-overlooked aspect of research but is extremely important. Benchmarking allows us to understand if the changes we have made are having the desired impact, both for the business and for the user.

Heuristic Evaluation​

A heuristic evaluation is a process of taking a fine-tooth comb to your product or service and benchmarking it against a list of industry standards. By doing this you can see areas of improvement that are needed and set about making those changes accordingly.

Ready for liftoff?

Are you ready for a chat? Get in touch below, if not, why not check out other areas of the site, in the meantime scroll down for some flattery from previous colleagues.

I mean it’s on the internet so it must be true (source: LinkedIn)

PORTFOLIO

See the work for yourself.

I mean don’t take my word for it, check out the work in the portfolio section and let me know what you think. Just click on one of the images to go straight there

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