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.
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.
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
Goals of a contextual analysis
Who profits from a contextual analysis
All roles involved in projects
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
Goals of a user study
User studies can be performed based on existing software as well as prototypes. They provide feedback about:
Who profits from a user studies