Quick user research

On the project I’m working on at the moment I have the usual barrier of no money or time for proper user research, however there is the opportunity after the first release to start interviewing users adding features and tweaking the design for the future phases, so a more iterative approach which is exciting!

The focus of the first phase/release is to get the content onto a CMS so it can be edited, owned, quickly created and culled without having to go through the barrier of their website provider. Also to get the login and search sorted out, so nice small defined goals for phase one.

In taking the site to the new CMS we’ll be creating a new Info Architecture to help the users find the content they need and expose some they didn’t even realise was available to them. This is where we’ve managed to wrangle a little time with real users… I get to talk to about 3 real users for 2 hrs tomorrow and then about 5 “proxy” users a day after. (A proxy user being the people within the organisation who have the most contact with the users.)

I’ve put together my questions and come up with an approach which includes people filling in questionnaires and then one on one interviews so I can extract the most from each person. Mainly based around what follows:

  • what content do the users find the most important?
  • how do the users find out about it?
  • what drives them to the site?
  • what are common complaints?
  • what do they see as pain points?
  • what triggers the users to get in touch or to ask for help?
  • what sort of content do they expect to see on the site?
  • do they have any positive feedback?

In putting together the approach I came across the following resources that really helped direct and reinforce what I was planning. I really like the Guerrilla User and Design Research presentation from Ruth Ellison it deeply reflects how I feel about the subject!

Bite-Sized UX Research
By Steve Baty Published: May 7, 2008 – An article from UX Matters
Affinity Diagrams
Organizing Ideas Into Common Themes – An article about using post-its to group ideas.

Guerrilla User and Design Research A Slideshare presentation by Ruth Ellison.

Data Driven Design Research Persona A Slideshare presentation by Todd ZakiWarfel.


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