As we look toward 2021 and, hopefully, the opportunities that await us there, we share some of the ways you could incorporate user insights into your plans.
We know for many this is still an uncertain time and plans for 2021 are likely to be cautious. However, this increased uncertainty is one of the main reasons why research with your users is more important than ever.
Whether you have a full redesign in the pipeline, a branding refresh or just some small tweaks to make, it is always worthwhile gaining user feedback during development to ensure the finished website offers a fantastic user experience.
Watching real users interacting with a website (both in development and live) is the best way to understand what the issues are 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.
Usability testing can take place at any stage of development, from early wireframes to fully live designs. We always recommend testing early as changes are quicker and cheaper to make and you can guarantee the new site is built on a foundation of user evidence and will work effectively once launched.
Testing with real users also provides great evidence to support changes internally. If you struggle with getting buy-in from your colleagues, ask them to join you for a session of user testing: it will quickly change their minds.
Read more about usability testing and why it should be part of your 2021 plans.
Digital strategy review
It’s been a funny old year that has required all of us to work much more flexibly and come up with solutions that work for our customer.
According the latest eConsultancy round up of coronavirus stats “56% of directors at enterprise businesses say that lockdown has been their most innovative time at the company.” This is quite exciting really!
But it can be hard to innovate when you don’t know what people want.
Discovery research with your target market can help give you some direction. Conducted one-to-one or in focus groups, picking the brains of your users to understand their goals, motivations, frustrations and preferred means of contact will give you concrete evidence that can be used to shape your 2021 digital strategy.
Use this approach to find out:
- What are your users’ priorities and interests
- What they find frustrating
- How they want to engage with you
- How likely they are to engage with your marketing messages
- How well user goals align with your expectations
- What is their current perception of your brand and how does that compare to your competitors
Or any other question that will help guide your digital strategy! It can be truly open ended, and the insights can often be quite eye-opening.
Improve digital accessibility
Online accessibility has had a real moment in 2020. In September of this year, new UK government regulations came in requiring all public sector websites to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1.
It has been a great step in the right direction towards an inclusive online environment but there is a still a long way to go.
Currently the regulations only apply to the public sector. Hopefully, the private sector will follow suit at some stage and new websites will be built with accessibility best practice at the heart of the design.
But complying with the WCAG guidelines does not necessarily make a website usable and useful to all users with disabilities. To ensure genuine accessibility, it is important to usability test your website with disabled users, which will quickly flag up the barriers that these users face and the fixes you can make to offer a more inclusive online experience.
The great news is that by improving the user experience of your website for disabled user you will also be improving the experience for all your users.
If you would like to talk more about how to incorporate more user insight into your 2021 schedule of activities, just get in touch!