User research, design sprints, and usability testing will give you a deeper understanding of your users and better design direction
Getting ahead of your user research
Get ahead of your business by running a few UX design sprints. Not only will you learn more about your users, but you’ll also learn a lot about your business processes and use cases. You will feel confident and know which way to take your product. We can help you accomplish this in 5-days. This type of research is basically the user-centered design approach wrapped up into a 5-day design sprint. A condensed version of the typical design process.
User research needs to be an ongoing, holistic, team effort. However, condensing it into a week or two makes sense for a lot of reasons. It allows the moderator to take control of the conversation and focus everyone involved on the structure of the information. This focuses us on a shared set of data and begins to set a shared understanding that the group can build on. This is true whether or not your timeline is going to be 5 days or 5 months.
Since the research needs to tell a story about the businesses relationship between its users and the systems being used daily. The outcome of the research should provide everyone with a sense of the user’s overall sentiment and feedback about their day-to-day activities as well as its given functions at a given time.
To truly impact an organization, user research should be available to everyone in the company, all the time. Good research should be influencing certain aspects of the business.
However, great research, like the work we do at the UX Sprint Lab, is aligning businesses across the industry. We are a collective of UX practitioners building solutions to complicated business problems for leading industry organizations.
Testing your application with users
Like I mentioned in my post about “designing a conversation” the real magic happens when you align a solid foundation of early research, with a well-formed interaction design and have the ability to test the design with a handful of users.
This testing will complete the feedback loop for the team and is truly critical for gaining critical insight into your design. It helps the team understand if they made any big wrong moves with the layout or structure or even interactions between information or elements on the page. It will also help you set up your next steps and help you understand if changes need to be made or if you can move to the next phase of your design process.
As you read this article, please understand that simply sitting down with a group of users or user representatives and explaining the designs or process and getting their feedback isn’t nearly good enough. In order to drive out a deep meaning of your design and users, you must properly set up a user testing session, have a plan of what you will test, and prepare findings and hopefully suggestions from the tests.
Make sure you’re conducting ongoing user research. Be sure to supplement your research with design sprints and don’t forget to run some properly structured user tests on your design.
Doing these activities consistently will give you an edge on your competition and will take your product from good to great.