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UX Research Techniques

UX Research Techniques

Contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Significance of UX Methodology
  • Interview
  • Personas
  • Visual Sitemap
  • Conclusion

Introduction

Reviewing a cool shot on Dribbble or a top case on Behance, a novice designer who is not familiar with the delicacy of web development may think that in order to become a professional and create successful projects single-handedly, it will be enough just to learn how to make beautiful pictures, and make some nice animations ‘here’ and ‘there’. They think that these simple actions will provide them with high income, and all the media resources will be interested in their opinion.

Only a small number of people can estimate the real amount of work that they will have to do before creating their “first artboard” on a new project. This article is about the unappreciated work that usually remains behind the scenes.

The Significance of UX Methodology

The development of a good product begins with the research work, and the first task of any designer on a new project is observation.

Observation is an underestimated skill that is neglected by many newcomers with an impostor syndrome. The lack of time evaluation skills, customer pressure and a tendency to generalize — all this drives them into a conditional ‘black wigwam’. There, the disorientation leads them to chaotic actions and inconsistent decisions, and the result is usually frustrating. To avoid such cases, it is necessary to understand that the product is created for the user. Therefore, the designer is required to understand his target audience. This simple conclusion is the key to understanding the significance of the basic UX Research concept. The UX planning tool helps the designer to determine user behavior and prepare the most intuitive and responsive interface. Nevertheless, the user experience research methodology implies a high number of tools that need to be applied depending on the project and budget you have.

Interview

Interview

Interview is one of the basic tools that allows you to understand the user needs. The UX interview is based on the sociological research practice and is verified by time. The significance of the interview results depends on the question – it is directly proportional to the number of interviewees and the representativeness of the sample. Interviews can be divided into two groups: “moderated” (polls) and “unmoderated” (questionnaires).

Moderated interviews can be classified into three types:

Classic – a regular interview, with specific questions and answers to them. In order for it to be useful, it is necessary to interview as many users as possible. The main benefit is to compare the answers received.

Disoriented – an interview in which the interviewer usually does not use questions prepared in advance, or tries to minimize their number. In this kind of interview, the interviewer sets the abstract frame and listens to the interviewee. Here is an advice – when conducting this type of interview, use a voice recorder to be as involved in the story as possible.

Action – this type of interview is defined as a contextual observation. One of the popular cases is the ‘Uber’ design team, whose specialists worked together with taxi drivers, consulting with their target audience and integrating the user experience into the development of the new interface.

Card Sorting is often carried out in the framework of moderated testing. In this type of testing, the user is presented with a set of cards with terms that he must catalog according to his subjective representation of the hierarchy. In result, we can obtain relevant data on the understanding of the hierarchy by the user and use the information obtained when creating a Visual Sitemap.

Tree Testing – a moderated testing, in which the top element of the Sitemap is provided to complete the task given to user. The user is asked to explain a particular action that he performs in the process of completing the task. Such testing allows you to check the logic of the site map hierarchy.

Unmoderated interview:

A/B Testing – the most popular survey in the UX study. A/B testing is necessary if you have two competitive solutions. The reason of A/B testing is to randomly provide each option to a different number of users, the results of such testing can serve as proof of an assumption in a disputable situation.

Guerrilla testing – one of the way to conduct testing on a free site, in a shopping center or cafe. Unconditional plus of such testing is minimal expenses. The downside is the minimal sample representativeness. For this reason, this methodology should be used for projects with a large user base.

Personas

User Personas

A persona is a collective image of the user, which is formed by a set of researches. If you define a persona, you can control the expectations and needs of users, embodied in one fictitious profile.
There are three key parameters of ‘persona’ – user description, environment description and tasks description.

User description – key parameters of the user, his gender, age, occupation, goals, and more personal information are indicated.

Environment description – territorial factor and context of use, this column contains the place and time at which the user interacts with the product.

Tasks description – the tasks that need to be solved by the user.

The main purpose of the ‘Persona’ tool is to get to know and see the image of target audience. Persona identification affects the decisions throughout the development path. The positive effect of the persona is often proved in situations where the Client provides data on the target audience and asks for new functionality to be developed, but when conducting a study and compiling a Persona Card it becomes clear that the Client’s target audience is not as was stated, and it is necessary to develop the exact opposite of which the Client requested at the beginning.

Customer Journey Map

Customer Journey Map

CJM is a way of determining the user needs at different stages of interaction with the product. CJM is formed on the basis of ‘Persona’ and allows you to think about the individual route of the user. By designing a CJM, you can determine the points at which the user will pick a product of your competitor instead of yours.
CJM is presented in the form of a table in which the ‘Customer Goals’, ‘Channels’, and ‘User Flow’ are reflected.

Please, see the following article in order to learn more about User Flow:

“Barriers” and “Ideas”. Filling each block at the corresponding stage of interaction with the product allows the designer to understand the user for whom he is designing it. When designing a CJM, it is important to maximize empathy at each stage of user interaction in order to try to understand his thoughts and emotions when interacting with the product. Nevertheless, the base on which CJM is built is the result of research of the target audience and the definition of a particular ‘Persona”. Otherwise, you can get an irrelevant user travel map.

Visual Sitemap

Visual Sitemap

A Visual Sitemap is a content navigation planning tool. Sitemap development requires an integrated approach. In order to be able to plan a valid map, it is necessary to conduct in-depth researches. When planning website navigation, the designer must see the product and its navigation hierarchy through the eyes of the user. This is the only way to create a Sitemap with the help of which there will be a possibility to correct the user’s path in future, providing him with the necessary information as quickly as possible.
In addition to the research work carried out by the UX specialist, it is important to take into account the semantic core clustering data provided by the SEO specialist when designing a Sitemap. The preparation of the semantic core and the use of analytical data for a website design – are the main topics of this article.

Conclusion

The direct purpose of the UX research methodology for the designer is to ensure that the users’ needs are understood and implemented. It is the need for awareness of the target audience that the designer requires after he begins to explore the interface patterns more thoroughly. The questions ‘Why does this UI element have a similar shape? Color? Or why is it located in this place, not in that?’ The designer opens a huge world of UX, where every design decision is justified and supported by research. In the frame of this article, we gave a superficial definition of a small list of tools that needs to be integrated into the workflow at the very beginning of the path of website development.

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FlowMapp x Figma. All stages of UX Research on a single platform

Having a single platform for managing a project at all stages of UX Research remains an urgent challenge today. Often when working with a client there can be misunderstandings due to chaotic comments and forgotten edits. Such issues are directly related to the number of services, messengers and social networks used by the project manager to establish communication and present the product to the client. Relying on memory, the search for relevant information in this chaotic system can turn into torture. In this article, we would like to tell about how to integrate Figma prototypes into FlowMapp and use this bundle as a single platform to manage the project.

Content:

  1. First step. Fundamental stages of development,
  2. Talks, talks. The issue of communication at different stages of UX Research,
  3. Familiar place. Working with Figma prototypes in FlowMapp interface,
  4. Not looking back. FlowMapp projects archiving.

1. First step

Starting a new project, we will face a number of necessary actions, such as fixing requirements and coordinating a technical task. Building a detailed site map improves the project understanding and simplifies the requirements fixing, thereby speeding up the preparation of a technical task. FlowMapp also allows you to work out User Flow, prior to the prototype development and place convenient links to it within the description of any sitemap card.

2. Talks, talks

In spite of the general development of UX design, and the emergence of well-thought-out interfaces, the manager has to remember that it is not always easy for the client to navigate through the endlessly increasing flow of new services. The difficulty and time spent on the exploration of new interfaces can lead to a misunderstanding arising between the manager and the client, complicating the coordination processes and can create an artificial increase in the cost of development.
For this reason, it is so important for both parties to maintain the established communication experience. Using FlowMapp and Figma as a single platform for UX Research can help you solve this issue.

3. Familiar place.

Figma is a great tool to prototype differently detailed screens, in conjunction with FlowMapp, it allows you to narrow the focus of attention by creating a single system for communication with the Client and allowing you to close the UX Research chain based on a single platform.
On the way to solving the fundamental UX Research issues, the client will familiarize himself with the FlowMapp interface, leave the first comments and mark the edits in the sitemap cards. In order not to force the client to search for links to actual prototypes in instant messengers or mail, you can use the convenient “Add Main Link” function in the sitemap card interface, which is familiar to the client, to link the current prototypes created in Figma.

FigmaFlowmapp

In fact, this simple action, together with the ability to create links in the card description to other sitemap cards, opens up the possibility of creating a full-fledged Prototype User Flow. You can try these services in the project following the link.
Thanks to Page Covers presentation mode and the most user-friendly UI FlowMapp, the client has a convenient way to navigate the project, and the manager has a clearly organized project history with all the comments and edits.

4. Not looking back

Experience has shown that the project handover is not always its logical completion. And there is always the possibility that the manager may need this or that information on the submitted project over the course of time. Without having a single platform, he will again need to rely on his own memory. In addition, the more time passes after the project is handed over, and the more submitted projects appear, the more difficult it is to navigate dozens of abandoned chats and forgotten passwords from the services on which the accounts were created for the project. To stop the chaos in the project manager work, saving him from frustration and subsequent burnout, FlowMapp has a convenient system for projects archiving. Archiving allows you to focus on current tasks, and refer to submitted projects only as needed.

2019 poses new challenges for us. The ability to cut off information garbage and focusing on the main thing-are the main priorities of the Designer while working on the Project. Trying to keep tons of information in mind leads to helplessness and loss of quality control arising in the workflow.

Working with the FlowMapp+Figma bundle helps you be more productive-consolidating all the information on a single platform, unloading your head to work on creative solutions.

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Flowchart in UX Research

UX Research

Development of empathic interface is a serious task that requires deliberate decisions from a Product Designer, which is why every stage of UX Research has great importance. In this article, we will analyze a tool that can help you at one of the first stages – Ideate.

Usually, when a designer develops an idea, it determines the development vector of an estimated product. A User Flow Tool can be a good helper at this stage. Origins of User Flow can be found in technical block diagrams describing algorithms and technical processes.

user flow example

At the moment, User Flow combines block diagrams and visual interface elements. These diagrams enable a designer to set a goal in advance, and test suggested user flows, defining key moments and determining issues at the Define Stage. An important advantage of User Flow Diagrams is its opportunity to reduce costs of a project, excluding a large number of UX mistakes even before prototyping of a tool, and simplicity of reading patterns allows to clearly demonstrate a Client or a Manager the importance of any solution.

To better understand the need for User Flow in your projects, click on the link to see a diagram.

When reading or creating such diagrams, don’t forget to follow basic principles which designers use in their User Flows:

  1. Limitations and Naming. A User Flow Name is a set goal of user flow; when creating a diagram, it’s important to set a user goal as accurately as possible to use it as a name of your diagram. It’s also important to plan the naming of each element of your User Flow. Deliberate and laconic names are one of the fundamental rules for creating a diagram that allows easily following the pattern making it convenient and logical.
  2. Standards. Even though current User Flows are not regulated, and there’s no a specific form for developing them, we followed a fundamental principle of standardized block diagrams while developing this diagram:

Each fan-out can only come from “diamonds.” A user can change the flow only by making its choice.

This diagram demonstrates User Flow in an application where a user can book an apartment directly from a property owner, a final goal of  which is to “Execute a booking request.”

UX Research

This small example allows us to measure the flexibility of the diagram. We reflected user flow to a specified objective and some flows that bring it back to the main route in situations when a user can’t respond positively.

Flexibility is a key element of User Flow. User Flow is not the system documentation and/or Use Case. All these factors provide such a broad diagram profile.

User Flow is an amazing tool, allowing to plan a variety of options for achieving a set goal of user flow that might help a designer and a team to prevent the possibility of costly mistakes at early stages of product development and make a well-considered and convenient project for an end user.

You can try to create a free User Flow Diagram at our platform. FlowMapp is an end-to-end solution for a designer, enabling a team to have full control of a project at each UX Research Stage.

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Shift to T-Shaped has already happened

Here is professional talk with our friend Adam Zielonko, Senior Product Designer, Netguru agency. Read on as Adam sheds some light on his design approach and gives us some valuable advice.
Let’ go!

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