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  • December 6, 2020

User Research – Understanding “why” Users Engage with your Product – Chukwuebuka Justus Asogwa

User Research – Understanding “why” Users Engage with your Product – Chukwuebuka Justus Asogwa

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4 minutes read

Engaging and understanding your users is the number one way to create useful, profitable and value driven experience for your users.

As a shop keeper, you may have some customers that are very friendly and you enjoy having some casual conversations about their day, weekend or even their family with, they tell you stuffs and you also let out some information to them, yet this kind of information will come very short of evaluating your customer’s perceptions of your product and service.

In fact, it will help solidify your beliefs and biases about your customers. Having casual and random conversations can tell you about your customers but may not offer very useful information on how to serve them better.

We will be looking at how to develop research questions, execute them and make sure they better tailor your business objectives to what your customer wants as being taught at CXL Institute. We will also be sharing the tools and techniques to answering wide variety of research questions and applying them to your business objectives.

“User research can change the entire structure of a business and make the best products.”

What we are going discuss

  • What user research is
  • How it is different from other approaches
  • Why you should be tying it to your business outcomes
  • How to develop research questions that are tied to these business outcomes
  • How to make sure you research is actionable and useful to the people in your business.
  • Approaches for answering different types of questions.
  • Understanding what people say by the use of interviews and surveys and another is understanding people by watching what they do through ethnography, analytics and user testing.

What is User Research and why is it important?

User research could be referred to as design research, product research or UX research. It is a means of testing the how customers interact with the changes you effect on your product or website or other communication channels especially with the older generation.

Testing for people with disabilities is becoming even more crucial as color blindness and impaired vision are more common now. You might have created clear messaging hierarchy using color contrast but some of your customers are blind to some of the call to action button colors. This will defeat the purpose of the contrast and could affect the user experience.

It can also help you design the appropriate manner you should react to users who might not want to take the desired action. Designs can be manipulative by preying on users’ natural desires for being correct, looking good or making the right choices.

The above design is targeted to make users who don’t sign up feel shamed and maybe bend them with the natural instinct to be correct. User research is about empathy of your users, how they feel and putting yourself in their context to better design a fitting experience for them.

Sometimes designers assume higher digital literacy for their audience hence expecting them to comply with the technology in a familiar way when actually many are not that good with technology even after having gadgets for several years.

User research is about understanding people “Goals, Needs and Beliefs”

Beyond segmentation, A/B testing and interviews, user research is to understand your users better and use the insight gleamed from your research to better design a product for them.

Data has shown a correlation between companies that are user centric as having more loyal customers, very dedicated employees and perform better with their stocks among other market.

User research is not always accurate and perfect: It’s a way of testing your assumptions and getting data on your users.

What User Research Is Not

  • It is not also prescriptive on how to acquire new customers.
  • It’s not only relevant to designers. Research is useful to every part of the organization that wants their work to contribute value to the user.
  • User testing may not solve all your problems but a very good way to test thing, validate or disqualify ideas. Early research could save your company so much in loss.

The role of research is to move your users up through the hierarchy of needs. A product should first be functional before it seeks to be pleasurable.

The following are some specific ways to improve your organization using research to inform your decisions.

  • Improve user productivity
  • Increase user satisfaction
  • Increase retention
  • More and better referrals
  • Decrease development cost through fewer cycles
  • Fewer user errors
  • Lower training and support costs
  • Less time to meaningful user activation

What measures do you think research could help improve in your organization.

How is User Research different from Market Research design?

  1. User research has specific focuses on methodology, and stepping back to understand the user from a neutral point of view.
  2. Knowing your buyer Vs knowing your user. Sometimes the buyer is the user but other times they are different. In business to consumer, the user is often different from the buyer while in the business to business space, the user is mostly different from the end buyer.

User research focuses on the user to know what they actually intend the product to do for them while market research focuses on the buyer, the purchase decision maker. Marketers are more poised to guiding the buyer through the process than the aftermath of the product.

  1. Problem solving Vs Beliefs. User research is more focused on what people want than what they feel they want as we see in marketing. User research try to solve a problem for the customer.
  2. Market research is mostly wide and huge, focusing on more people and quantitative while user research is smaller in scope and more qualitative.

Sometimes the customer’s information is changed with each person that passes the information along.  These are some of the challenges with user research. People at the organization could allow their own biases into the customer data hence producing a different thing than what the customer demanded.

A good researcher will focus on what drives the business, what delivers revenue for the company, and what brings value to the customer.

The user research overlaps with the marketing research and are not to conflict each other.

I will leave you with a few questions to consider.

  • Does your organization or business do user research, if so how does it conduct it, what is working and what isn’t?
  • What would recommend they do differently.
  • Choose your favorite product; what are some of the features that create good user experience and what do you think still needs work?

This post is a review of the User Research course at CXL Institute, I would recommend it if you want to learn more about User research or digital marketing.

Chukwuebuka Justus Asogwa is a post graduate student of Digital Business: A joint program from MIT and Columbia Business School, with interest in Digital Enterprise and Platform Businesses in Africa. He works with Agroyields Africa Ltd, an Agritech company in the production and retail space in Nigeria. Connect with Chukwuebuka on LinkedInTwitter or send him a mail via greenebuks@gmail.com

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