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User Studies and Research

The key in getting to know your users is to listen to them and observe them using your products. The true voice of customers and users can be heard only when we are tuned to them. This helps you in understanding their needs (both expressed and implied), tasks, and challenges. Conducting user interviews and contextual inquiry helps achieve this objective in a structured and result-oriented approach.

User Studies and Research

What are user studies and research

User studies and research are explorative and discovery-based methods that help you gather insightful and actionable information from your users. User studies help us understand the needs, pain areas, short term and long term goals, constraints, habits, and wish lists of your users. From these studies, we can get to know the conceptual model of your users, which will enable us in defining the problem and creating a solution that fits the users' mental model.

Though usability and marketing have a few areas which are common and related, user studies are different from customer focus groups which typically fall in the marketing domain. We give below the key differences between Marketing and User experience related activities.
Most user profiles touch upon:

  Marketing (What user studies is not) Product Engineering - User Experience
Focus is on...
Customers and buyers
Product customers and users
Goal is to understand...
Customer Preferences
User performance with product
Data gathering methods
Focus groups, surveys
User interviews, contextual inquiry
Evaluation methods
Test marketing
User testing, usability expert/ review
Engagement with...
Individual users
Covers the areas...
What, Why, Why not, When, Where and How
Identifies and unearths...
Wants and wishes
Needs, goals and tasks

Why conduct user studies

User studies are help us understand the users' needs, which are often hidden and the users themselves are not aware of. These studies are scientific explorative methods and are different from the user tests which are more evaluative methods. User studies help unravel the following aspects, which are often difficult to obtain in a structured and objective manner:

  • Users' key needs and drivers
  • Constraints, challenges and pain areas
  • Goals and tasks
  • Usage scenarios and key tasks
  • Breakdown areas
  • Workarounds used
  • Wish list and user preferences ( as you note, this is the last item on the list)

Who conducts user studies

As you are aware by now, user studies are both an art and science. These are not like any other interviewing techniques and do require skillful, experienced and expert moderators. Texavi's experts conduct these studies using the right blend of experience in user research, and cognitive psychology and expertise in asking the right questions that would help get to the right data. No wonder, Texavi's trained and experienced moderators helped many of our clients conduct user studies in a thorough, professional way.

How do we conduct user studies

Texavi experts use one-to-one interviewing techniques to help us gather the required data. We use different tools and techniques during the user studies, some of which are given below:

  • Open-ended /explorative
  • Closed-ended/focus
  • Scenario walkthrough
  • Memory-jagging
  • Deep dive and probe

They key in conducting the user studies is the relationship between the moderator and participant. The first few minutes of the session are spent in setting the tone of this relationship, based on the personality and nature of the participant.

When are the user studies conducted

User studies are typically conducted during the early stages of problem or concept definition. We recommend conducting the user research before defining the product requirements.