User research may sound like a daunting and specialized concept, but in its simplest terms it's all about understanding users so that web designs can better meet their needs. It's the process of gathering information directly from people who are using or could potentially use your products or services. By doing this, you're really looking at two key elements: learning what works for your customers and troubleshooting more complex user experience problems.
In the same way that galaxies form by constantly colliding in space to create whole new shapes and aspects, user research combines data points from various activities—such as direct observation, interviews, surveys and usability tests—to gain insight into customer behavior that informs successful design. Through these different ways of collecting feedback you can monitor how people are interacting with the website in order to uncover any potential issues early on before they become big obstacles down the line.
The ultimate goal of user research is to bridge the gap between form and function-finding out what customers need versus what actually works once implemented online. As trends are continuously changing it requires companies to continually reexamine their potential customers’ wants and needs while offering smarter solutions tailored around them. Questions answered through user research provide valuable data which feeds extra layers of purpose into a website’s existence by replacing stabs-in-the-dark with carefully channeled personalization efforts based on solid facts, not assumptions or guesses!
- Usability tests
- A/B testing
- Contextual inquiries
- Focus groups
- Task analysis
- Eye-tracking studies
- Analytics tracking
- Card sorting
- Running Competitor Analysis: Gaining insight into how your competitors can be achieved through researching their sites and technologies used in web design to identify what works well, where there is potential for improvement, and to determine the team’s competitive edge.
- Creating a User Journey Map: Mapping out detailed user journeys allows designers to assess which features are necessary, how they should be implemented, and whether they meet usability requirements while considering any potential roadblocks that could impede success.
- Crafting Personas: Understanding who the target users are helps web designers create designs that truly meet the needs of these customers by developing personas based on gathered user reseach data about them — from demographics to technical experience levels—which can be tested and adjusted throughout the process as needed.
Sweet facts & stats
- User research contributes over 90% of successful web designs.
- Around 70% of web projects take too long because user research was not done properly or quickly enough.
- About one in every two websites fail to meet customer needs without first doing proper user research.
- Over 85% of users base their opinion on the effectiveness and quality of a website by how easy it is to find what they are looking for.
- More than 80% of businesses report that doing effective user research has led to positive outcomes, including increased conversions and higher profits from online sales and services offered through their website design projects.
- Nearly 65% of website owners who conducted thorough user studies before launching said they experienced fewer component development issues later down the line, saving time and money compared with those who didn't do any research beforehand.
- Approximately 60-70% of all companies did not conduct any sort of user experience studies when creating their websites, leading to sites deemed difficult or inefficient to use by visitors which causes high bounce rates and low conversion rates as a result, regardless if the site looks great or not design wise!
- According to some studies, the universe actually follows similar patterns found in good web design; galaxies form clusters in ways very similar to how different elements can configure when building clean wireframes for an amazing interface—quite amazing!
The evolution of
User research and web design have always gone hand-in-hand. It all began with basic usability testing in the 90s, when website designs were focused on pleasing aesthetics rather than convenience for end users. From there, user research has continued to develop and evolve alongside web development, leading us to where we are today: a world of smarter UX design decisions based on data driven insights.
In the preceding years, user research has been used to refine processes from product ideation through launch; uncovering potential problems along the way which can then be quickly addressed before launch. Professional industry practices have similarly undergone refinement as well over the past few decades by streamlining the user experience; placing an emphasis on accessibility, inclusion and overall customer satisfaction. Focus groups and surveys are increasingly being leveraged alongside more advanced methods like A/B testing to accurately target both existing and prospective customers’ needs – helping developers better tailor their offerings according to feedback collected from target audiences.
Though it's easy enough now to access different types of user data with ease (usability metrics, analytics etc.) it seems that even more opportunity lies ahead in further advancing how UX designers gain swift insight into their key metric performance KPIs—giving them various opportunities throughout the entire lifecycle of a given product or service - thereby taking advantage of both quantitative and qualitative factors which draw potentially dozens or hundreds (or beyond)of individual results for analysis together at once. In other words, User Research will continue its evolution toward being one of the most powerful forces in web design!