Working in the digital industry, it is very easy to forget that not everyone is technologically competent and totally reliant on/ addicted to the World Wide Web.
“We need more research now, not less”. These are the words of the leading UX consultancy Nielsen Norman Group (NNg). As UX insight specialists we obviously agree with these sentiments. NNg comments “Lots of teams have decided to hold off on doing previously planned research projects, but I believe this is a time for more research, not less. User research is a form of risk reduction, and the greater the risk (for example, because of rapid change), the more you need that risk reduced.”
Remote usability testing is nothing new. For international clients and hard to reach audiences, remote testing has been a valuable testing approach used by many for years.
Until very recently, how we engaged with brands and organisations normally spanned a multitude of touchpoints – online, in store, telephone, email and social media. As stores have shut and customer service centres shifted more heavily to digital solutions, the online touchpoint has become, in many cases, the only touchpoint.
A recent study by Econsultancy, which collected data from 849 UK brands, found that 90% of organisations are delaying or reviewing their budget commitments as a result of the pandemic.
As the pandemic continues and our way of life changes and evolves to cope, it is interesting to think what the world will look like once we are out the other end of this (and we will get there!).
Knowledge comes in different types. When conducting UX research, the type of knowledge you are trying to tap into is important as it will determine:
Personas bring the user alive. They are 'archetypal' users - telling stories about users to give everyone in the organisation a collective understanding of who the users are and what they want.
Usability testing is the best way to find out if your site is effective – that is, will it work with real users and help you achieve your online goals. Watching real users interacting with a site or app (both in development and live) is the best way to understand the issues that interfere with a good user experience; it also forces those with responsibility for the site or app to ‘walk in the users’ shoes’ – often an unsettling experience!