The User Experience Researchers (UXRs) at N Brown are stoked to give you a glimpse into their world. As part of the User Experience team, their mission is to dig deep into the minds and hearts of users, making sure their needs are met and their experiences optimized, all while keeping their eyes fixed on their OKRs. So, grab a cup of coffee, lean back, and let these experts spill the beans on the mind-blowing realm of UX research!
What is User Experience Research (UXR)?
User Experience Research (UXR) is like having a window to the minds and hearts of our users. It’s an intriguing field that combines psychology, human behaviour, and design to understand how people interact with products, services, and systems. As a UXR professional, I dive deep into the realm of user experiences, aiming to uncover insights that guide the creation of exceptional user-centred designs and solutions.
The Intersection of Psychology and Human Behaviour
UXR is heavily influenced by the principles of psychology and human behaviour. By understanding how people think, feel, and behave, we can design experiences that resonate with them on a profound level, helping us decode the intricate workings of the human mind. It is vital we watch what our users do and don’t just listen to what they say.
Psychology offers valuable insights into human cognition, perception, and motivation. By studying psychological theories and concepts, we can uncover the underlying factors that drive user behaviour. This knowledge helps us within UX craft experiences that align with users’ mental models, ensuring seamless interactions and minimizing cognitive load. Terms you will always hear us talking about in our debriefs.
Mental models? They’re internal frameworks in our brains that help us make sense of the world. You know, those little shortcuts we take to understand how things work. When designing interfaces, we gotta tap into users’ mental models to keep things intuitive and easy to use. It’s like speaking the same language as our users - we’re all on the same page!
Now, cognitive load. It’s basically the mental effort we put into a task. It is unlikely our users are only thinking about the item they put in their basket. We’ve all been there, juggling a million things in our heads while trying to figure out how to navigate a website. It can be overwhelming! Here our UX team ensures a low cognitive load. Think of it as decluttering the mental space and making things a breeze for our users. Less mental gymnastics, more enjoyment, more conversion!
Human behaviour is another crucial aspect that informs UXR. By observing how people behave in real-life situations and understanding their needs and desires, we can uncover patterns and trends that shape user experiences. This knowledge allows us to anticipate user expectations and for our UX designer to create the most optimised solutions that cater to their preferences, resulting in intuitive and engaging interactions.
In essence, UXR combines the power of psychology and human behaviour to create experiences that leave a lasting impact on users. By understanding the intricate nuances of the human mind and how it interacts with technology, we can craft user experiences that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also intuitive, meaningful, delightful, and inclusive. Whilst helping to improving our Conversion. As we unlock the secrets of human behaviour and psychology, transforming them into user-centred designs that make a genuine difference to how they experience N Brown.
Behind the Methodologies: So how do we get into those minds and hearts?
User Interviews: We sit down with users for candid and insightful conversations, uncovering their motivations, desires, and pain points first-hand. It’s like having a heart-to-heart with our users, building a deep understanding of their needs. We always go into interviews with a discussion guide and open-ended questions to ensure we stay on track. But most importantly we ask our users Why, usually 5 times!
Surveys: We cast a wide net to capture the opinions and preferences of a set demographic and user base. Surveys help me gather valuable quantitative data, providing a birds-eye view of what our users really want. Usually followed up with users’ interviews so we can keep asking our users why.
Usability Testing: It’s like watching a suspenseful movie! We observe users as they navigate our products, pinpointing areas of friction, confusion, or delight. This hands-on approach helps us identify usability issues and make necessary improvements, we mostly use this for prototype testing or to observe how users navigate through websites or apps. This is our most used form of research. We do this every week!
Card Sorting: Like a master organiser, we bring users into the mix to participate in the captivating activity of card sorting. Users categorise and arrange information, helping us understand how they mentally group content in way that makes sense to them. This technique gives us a window into their minds, guiding us to create intuitive navigation and information architectures that align perfectly with their mental models. Most recently we have used this methodology to inform the layout for Miyo Account sections and will be using this to help uncover our users priorities and needs with regards to PIM.
Tree Testing: We present users with a simplified version of our sites’ structure and challenge them to find specific information or complete tasks. Discovering whether our navigation is seamless or if there are hidden traps that hinder user flow. This invaluable method helps us refine and optimise our site’s structure, ensuring users can find what they’re looking for without breaking a sweat. It also a terrific way to further validate and evaluate participants categorisation of Card Sorts. Card sorting and tree testing were the first things we did for Project Castle.
The User Experience Research (UXR) process is one part within the world of design, fitting into the Double Diamond framework, that we use as part of the UX process and workflow. UXR plays a crucial role in each stage of the process, bringing valuable insights from the users’ perspective.
Our Processes – The Double Diamond Approach
- Discover stage, UXR uncovers user needs, behaviours, and preferences through methods like interviews and surveys. This provides designers with deep insights into user motivations and pain points.
- Define stage, UXR synthesises research findings to create user personas and problem statements. These personas guide designers with a strong focus on empathising with users and crafting resonant solutions.
- Develop stage, UXR validates design ideas through prototyping and testing, gathering feedback from users. This iterative process ensures that the final product meets user needs.
- Deliver stage, UXR presents research findings and actionable recommendations, driving change and improvement. It is this collaboration between UX designers and research that creates exceptional user experiences.
There are areas of this flow that are non-liner, and we will circle back on ourselves to iterate and discover more until we are satisfied with the result. All the while engaging with user research and close coloration with the wider UX Team. Overall, our research and design functions are inseparable. UXR brings the voice of users to the design process, acting as a compass that guides designers toward user-centric decisions.
That all sounds rather lovely – but why do we bother?
User Experience Research isn’t just a fancy concept—it’s a vital aspect of our
strategy. By understanding our users’ needs, behaviours, and preferences, we can craft products and services that resonate.
This user-centric approach has tremendous benefits for our business. It enhances customer satisfaction. By tailoring our products and services to meet the specific needs of our users, we create experiences that exceed their expectations. Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal advocates, spreading positive word-of-mouth and driving organic growth. We want our users to be evangelical about us and the easiest way to do this is by driving their satisfaction.
User-centric design reduces the risk of costly mistakes. By involving users early in the product development process, we gain valuable insights that help us make informed decisions. This minimises the chances of investing resources in features or functionalities that don’t align with user preferences. It’s like having a compass that guides us towards successful outcomes. Helping us to remove long complex resource heavy discussions when we can be guided by the customer.
User-centricity fosters innovation. By deeply understanding our users; pain points, we uncover opportunities for improvement and generate creative solutions. This enables us to stay ahead of the competition and continuously innovate in ways that truly matter to our target audience. Removing the instinctive desire to only look and copy our competitors, fostering that element of innovation. By integrating user experience research into our business strategy promotes long- term growth and sustainability. By consistently putting the user at the centre of our decision-making, we build trust and foster strong customer relationships. This not only leads to repeat business but also opens doors for endless possibilities in the future.
And there you have it, a brief view into User Experience Research and the UX team at N Brown. Being part of this incredible team has allowed us to bring together expertise, curiosity, and a passion for creating outstanding user experiences. Through deep dives into user insights, the power of user-centricity in achieving our business goals. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences with you today. Stay tuned for more insights, innovation, and delightful experiences brought to you by the UX team. Together, we’ll continue to harness the power of user-centricity, creating products that make a genuine difference in the lives of our users while driving our success.
If you’d like to join the team at N Brown, then create a profile on the hackajob platform, where they’re currently hiring for a variety of roles or log in to your profile here. You can also keep updated with them on LinkedIn and check out their hackajob profile.