Web & Digital Design
Enhancing the User Experience with Strategic, Thoughtful Research
In 2024 and beyond, strategic and thoughtful UX research will be critical to your success.
Audience is everything, and a strategic approach to web design will continue to enhance the user experience.
At each project’s outset, it’s important to collaborate with your team and define specific objectives and desired outcomes for the project. Are you looking to improve overall website usability or remedy specific pain points in your existing ecosystem? Defining these objectives will help you focus your efforts.
Common objectives for UX research include:
• Identifying user needs and pain points: What challenges do users encounter when interacting with the website?
• Improving usability: Where do users experience friction?
• Optimizing the navigation and journey: Is the navigation and journey clear, intuitive and efficient?
• Enhancing satisfaction: Can improvements be made to boost user satisfaction and delight?
• Validating concepts: Are users open to a new product or service, or a new type of content?
• Increasing conversion rates: Are there conversion barriers that can be mitigated?
• Informing design decisions: Does the website’s design align with user preferences, needs and expectations
• Assessing brand perception: How do users perceive the brand, its values and personality?
• Enhancing accessibility: Are all users able to easily engage with and enjoy the website?
With your users’ needs in mind, clearly define each of the objectives for your research, leaning into your perception of where challenges exist and what efforts can yield the most impactful results for your brand. Without clear objectives, the time and effort your team puts into the research can quickly become problematic.
Select methodologies that align with your objectives.
Depending on your goals and objectives, the types of research methodology that you move forward with will vary. UX research methodology refers to the systematic and structured approach your team uses to gather data and insights about user behavior, needs and preferences, in order to inform the design and development decisions for your website.
Impactful methodologies include:
• Interviews: User interviews involve a member of your team preparing a list of relevant topics, engaging with an interviewee, recording feedback and analyzing the feedback post-interview to guide decisions. Ultimately, the goal is to gather insight into the user’s feelings, motivations and how they interact with your website. The Interaction Design Foundation shares key information about timing, approach, lines of questioning and post-interview reporting.
• Surveys: User surveys are questionnaires that your team can distribute amongst members of a research panel and existing customers to gather insight into their interactions with your website. When crafting survey questions, it’s helpful to be mindful of best practices to create a straightforward, clear experience.
• Usability testing: Usability testing evaluates the functionality of your website by observing your users as they attempt to navigate and take action throughout it. Usability testing can be moderated or unmoderated, remote or in-person. It can effectively uncover areas of friction along your website’s journey. According to Hotjar, usability testing is an effective means of catching errors, identifying flow issues and confirming your website meets users’ expectations.
• Focus groups: A UX focus group is a discussion that’s moderated by a member of your team amongst a small group (<10) of users. The objective is to uncover unfiltered insight into attitudes, interests, beliefs and actions. By giving users the floor to talk about their perceptions and feelings, focus groups can oftentimes uncover insights that your team may not think to ask, yet are clearly important to the user.
• Quantitative data: Gather objective and measurable data to quantify the user experience. For instance, looking at how many clicks it takes a user to complete an action or where users bounce the most can signal friction and challenges within your website.
Of course, consider factors such as budget, timeline and the bandwidth of the team conducting and assessing the research. Be mindful of the depth of insights required to inform your decisions, and keep your efforts focused. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has additional tools to help your team ensure your methodologies are unbiased, well-structured and align with your research objectives.
Recruit eager participants & conduct your research.
In order to conduct effective research, it’s essential to recruit participants that share characteristics with your target groups. Start by establishing the criteria you’d like each of your research participants to possess. At a minimum, this should include their geographical location, age group and experience types and level. Whether you recruit participants on your own or with the support of a third-party firm, screener questions can help pinpoint excellent candidates and exclude mediocre candidates. There are solid software solutions to support your team in conducting user research. A favorite amongst the Baunfire team is usertesting.com.
Analyze and synthesize feedback into digestible, actionable next steps.
Once data collection is complete, thoroughly review and clean the collected data, ensuring it is in a format suitable for analysis. This may involve transcribing interviews, sorting survey responses, or organizing observational data. Qualitative data may require theming or content analysis, while quantitative data can be analyzed using statistical methods if applicable. With all of this information at your disposal, your team can identify patterns and trends, and make actionable recommendations that align with your research objectives.
Present your findings & get to work.
When you present the findings to your team, communicate them in a clear and comprehensible manner. Tailor your presentation to meet your team’s specific needs and ladder up to your stated objectives. Ensure you convey the significance of the insights and recommendations for optimizing user experience. Create a visually appealing and concise report that includes relevant data, quotes, visualizations and recommendations to engage your team and drive understanding.
Once you’ve communicated your recommendations and aligned on what a more perfect future state looks like, work closely with your team or a UIUX partner like Baunfire to implement the recommended changes and improvements into your digital presence.
As your team looks to 2024 and beyond, it’s clear that thoughtful UX research will be more critical to your success than ever before. Just like any area of expertise, a well-developed and well-executed approach requires detailed planning and the input of experienced UX strategists. When your team’s bandwidth doesn’t allow for the work that needs to be done, partnering with an experienced agency, with a background in your industry and a proven track record of measurable results, can move your brand forward.
To learn more about partnering with Baunfire on your upcoming corporate website redesign project, reach out to email@example.com. You can also explore some of our past UX research, strategy and implementation work or read more of our digital design and content insights.