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Meeting Users Where They Are

Meeting Users Where They Are

Why did they do that?

This question has to be the most commonly asked question to UX researchers, and there’s a reason for that. Traditionally, it is rare for most companies to have a team of skilled UX researchers to delve into the qualitative side of data that is User Experience.

However, more companies are seeing the value of UXR with the advent of remote platforms that have made the research process streamlined and faster than ever. UX research is like a treasure map assisting companies in understanding the everyday lives of their users. When companies understand why people act the way they do, they can produce products that align with user needs and desires, which is becoming more and more important in this quickly evolving market.

Moving Beyond Traditional Methods

Traditional methods like Focus Groups and In-depth Interviews (IDIs) can be helpful, but they aren’t the most effective means of capturing real-time customer insights. Artificial settings and scripted interviews often leave a lot on the table.

Focus Groups

In a focus group, researchers can bring together a small group of people to gain a better understanding of a user base. However, focus groups can be riddled with problems as the sampling is so small it can be hard to get a true pulse that encapsulates the variety of users that make up an audience.

Due to focus groups being small, diversity in background and experience may not be considered to the extent that it should. This approach may blind a company’s approach to the needs and preferences of a diverse user community. With limited diversity comes limited perspectives. This can lead to wholly disregarding the experiences and viewpoints of key audience segments.

All of this culminates into an incomplete picture of your audience at best. Focus groups often lack the nuance necessary to uncover the gaps in a user’s experience. Further, the discussions in a focus group may not attain the depth of insight needed to understand the daily encounters that users face.

In-Depth Interviews (IDIs)

IDIs can be rich with information, but they lack the context needed to string together insights to trace trends and patterns across users. Each interview is a timestamped session that is greatly affected by a constellation of factors at the time of the interview: the user’s state of mind, goals, desires, and challenges. A couple of sessions strung together don’t write a compelling narrative on users. It often comes across as fluffy and obtuse as the longitudinal aspect of research isn’t present.

IDIs suffer from incompleteness as they fall short of understanding perspectives, actions, views, and behaviors. Through this structured approach, demonstrable insights can be difficult to draw out. IDIs can be rather short-sighted and, thereby, miss the bigger picture. Without the bigger picture, companies can’t take the big swings needed in today’s market.

A family playing with bubbles outside in their yard in their natural surroundings

Get the Big Picture with Richer Methods

With more naturalistic approaches, UX researchers are able to capture comprehensive and innovative insights. Traditional methods like Focus Groups and IDIs can miss the mark when it comes to understanding the relationship between people and products. However, UX researchers have an arsenal of tools that paint a more accurate and detailed picture of the everyday lives of users. Some methods that can be advantageous are:

Through methods like these, UX researchers and companies gain a more genuine understanding of their users. When you know your users, everything falls into place more easily. Each feature doesn’t feel like such a gamble, which helps companies emerge as leaders in the market.

The Benefits

Leveraging innovative platforms such as EthOS, researchers can immerse themselves in genuine user experiences. EthOS offers the tools to observe people in their everyday environments, whether they’re browsing products online from the comfort of their homes or engaging with mobile apps to make in-store purchases. This shift from the artificial confines of a lab to the real world empowers researchers and companies to deepen their understanding of users through:

  • Authenticity: Researchers can engage with users through a variety of probing features while the user is in their natural environment. It is typically difficult to get the insights necessary in artificial settings.
  • Context: Through immersive research techniques, UX researchers can tap into the real-life contexts of a variety of diverse users to properly understand the nuances, needs, and differences within specific consumer segments.
  • Unseen Behaviors: Traditional settings can make users uncomfortable exhibiting certain behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. At other times, the artificial setting may not elicit actions and thoughts that would arise for a user in their natural environment.
  • Ongoing Insights: EthOS enables researchers to continuously study users through probes and activities. With real-time data collection, researchers gain early access to evolving insights.
  • User-Centric Approach: Users should always be at the center of the research. This ensures that the focus remains on their desires, challenges, needs, actions, and beliefs.