Outside-In Thinking

Take a Walk on the Customer Side

Category: Research

Research roles are starting to pop up on product teams everywhere. There is a lot more to researching than meets the eye but often there are not enough people to do the research right, or there is one person tasked with doing everything research related – which can be challenging! How can research practitioners successfully set up and run smooth Research Operations to help provide insightful data to the wider team and gain the credibility they deserve?
There is a lot of discussion about why you should do Usability Testing and how to run the actual test itself. However, what do you do with all of this data once you have gathered it? How do you analyse it and what does it mean for you as a business, and as a Design process? Here we discuss the next steps you should take in order to get the most from your testing.
How do you know if your customers are satisfied with your product or service? How do you know what you are offering is meeting your customer needs? Businesses need to know which channels to use in order to gain valuable customer feedback. The insight gained will inform the decisions you make going forward. How valuable is your product or service if it doesn’t meet your customer needs?
A picture of a persons hands using a mobile while a camera records it to represent Usability testing.
Usability Testing is a User-Centred Design process that evaluates a digital product or service by testing it with real Users. It is not to be misunderstood as market or purely qualitative research, which is gathering only opinions about an object or document. Instead it involves observing how well people successfully complete tasks with a product or service. Rather than showing a person an object and only asking their opinion, they have to complete a series of tasks. This allows for the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data.
Usability Testing has been around for some time and is seen as one of the main components in User-Centred Design. It is a useful technique that allows designers and developers to identify pain-points and Usability issues at an early stage, and thus lets them be resolved before it damages reputation or becomes too costly to do so too much. One of the early adopters of Usability Testing was Apple. In this blog post I am going to examine their relationship with it based on their Design guidelines from 1982.
When working on a project such as a website, software or an app, it is very important to identify who your typical users are. A User Persona will give you insight into a user’s mental model, their decision-making process and context of usage. This will provide you with a clear understanding of who will ultimately use your product. If your product design process does not consider personas, it may result in loss of time, sales and a negative User Experience.
Whenever I heard the word ‘recruit’, it was met with a shiver down my spine. “Recruiting? Me? I’d rather walk the plank.” Let’s admit it, it can be a daunting task to call your family doctor – never mind recruiting participants over the phone for a Usability Test.
One of the most common mistakes design teams make is rushing a product to market before testing on users. Sure, the whole internal team understand the product inside out, how could your users not? Quite easily actually. It’s a simple mistake to make, and one that we have all made in the past, but testing on real users can save you both time, money, and heartache in the long run.

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