UX Research - Understanding the Basics
Being a former Business Systems Analyst, I was participating in the field of UX research on a daily basis for nearly 9 years. The world of software demands that programs are usable for who ever will need to work within the program, whether that is lack of programming bugs, well designed intuitive navigation, or just plain usefulness. UX Research will help with of all these area and more.
One issue I see prevalent in today's projects, in nearly all fields, is the lack of research and testing prior to building a product. As a BSA and consultant I was gathering requirements, performing interviews and competitive analysis, as well as conducting various tests to determine how useful the product would be for it's intended audience. By conducting this research prior to the budget being signed off on, I was able to predict many of the possible roadblocks and help define a smaller scope in which the project could better focus its energy on.
How to perform UX Research? This article form the Nielsen Norman Group is the best article I've seen to give people a good overview of UX Research and the types tests they can perform.
This article has around 20 different methods, some of which overlap or could be adjusted to meet your needs such as time or resource constraints. I have found that interviews, concept testing, and participatory designs are best at the beginning of a project and methods such as A/B Testing, Click-Analysis, and Eye Tracking are much better suited for testing further in to the project phases.
January 28, 2016