Understand your Users
Understand your Users

UX Research

Find out what your users really need, how to add the most value and how to test your products & ideas for usability issues.

You are not the user

To develop software successfully, you need detailed knowledge about your users, the context of use and the user requirements (requirement engineering). Unfortunately, project participants (project managers, developers, designers) often mistake their view as being representative for the real users. This phenomenon is known as false consensus effect (reference: nngroup.com).

Therefore, it is crucial to involve real users at several stages by performing UX research: first of all, you need initial detailed knowledge about the context of use for your user group. Later in the process, it is paramount to ascertain the real added value your solution is bringing to the user, in comparison with that of your competitors.

UX research has therefore two central touch points with users: requirements engineering and user studies.
Requirements engineering, especially through contextual analysis, are the key foundation for innovative and intuitive user interface design.
User studies provide information on how understandable the concept is and how much added value the solution offers the user.

Requirement analysis often solely describe the context of use inadequately:

The human brain is conceived to be efficient: it groups task sequences that we perform repeatedly and summarizes them so we recall them together. Later on, a short description, such as “send e-mail”, suffices to retrieve a whole sequence of subtasks and information. It is at this point that a lot of business analysis methods fall short. Worst case scenario, the product specification will only contain the generic term of the sequence – consequently resulting in a lack of knowledge about subtasks and derived requirements, indispensable for a good user interface.

That is why the contextual analysis is unique:

Contextual analysis use findings from cognitive psychology. By using a structured approach (task model), processes to be supported, tasks and subtasks are systematically broken down into individual steps. Subsequently, the resulting user requirements are systematically derived. This procedure guarantees that inconsistencies in the task description are spotted early and gaps in knowledge about the context of use are bridged.

UX Research methods to discover the context of use

Using requirements engineering, you will learn how to collect user requirements and processes, analyze the results and document them in a comprehensible way. Learn to use UX research methods for your competitive advantage.

Applications of a contextual analysis

Project context

  • Specify new developments
  • Help improve products
  • Improve user acceptance
  • Manage large-scale projects
  • Clarify user requirements
  • Minimise project risks (time and effort)

Company context

  • Better product management
  • Establish knowledge basis
  • Perform gap-analysis
  • Find out market needs
  • Explore future markets / improvements

Goals of a contextual analysis

Clarity about

  • Context of use
  • Relevant and potential user (groups)
  • Tasks / processes to be supported
  • Relevant user needs
  • User requirements to be implemented

Who profits from a contextual analysis

All roles involved in projects

  • Interaction designer
  • Marketing + sales
  • Technical writers
  • Trainer + support (giving trainings how to use the product)
  • Testing + quality
  • Training of new employees
    Overall better communication within the company in regards to the domain, the current project and customers

UX Research: perform user studies

Learn to set up user studies, get real honest user feedback and derive conclusions for the next iteration of your product.

Applications of a user study

  • Verify / falsify concepts
  • Make better decisions between concepts
  • Get real honest user feedback
  • Test your software for UX problems
  • Create UX benchmarks to track progress

Goals of a user study

User studies can be performed based on existing software as well as prototypes. They provide feedback about:

  • Where are UX weaknesses
  • Whether texts are self-explanatory
  • Which mental model the user has
  • Whether the user perceives the software as added value
  • Which aspects are perceived as particularly positive / negative
  • Where is there room for improvements
  • Where does the users expect different system behaviour

Who profits from a user studies

  • Product manager
  • Developer
  • UX Designer
  • Strategists
  • Marketing
  • Documenters
  • Tester
  • The users, since they get a better product

How can we help you?

You want to empower your employees through UX training, build internal expertise or need support with user-centric projects? Feel free to contact us for a non-binding consultation.

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Good user experience depends on your particular context. I would be happy to discuss with you how I can offer you the greatest possible added value for your current situation. I look forward to a personal conversation!

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