Research is the key to finding a robust solution to the challenges faced by your business and the project stakeholders hold the key to the defining that project.
Stakeholder interviews grant me insights into expectations for the project and how the audience is currently perceived by the business. Then stakeholder workshops bring the project team together to go through the ideas/directions that came out of the interviews. They are a great way to generate a lot of ideas quickly and collaboratively, to build consensus on the budget, timescales, scope and preferred approach to a project.
Understanding the goals and desires of your users, is central to understanding how to design for them.
User research comes in a number of forms, it can involve everything from the immersed observation that comes out of spending time with the users in their own environment. To the exploration of wider challenges through face to face user interviews and the targeted insights from usability tests. Even a simple survey can be a very powerful research tool and a quick and inexpensive way to engage with your users. I chose the most appropriate method for the time and budget available.
There is a lot of information that will already exist about how the product is being used, let's make good use of it.
Using the quantitative data available from analytics tools and databases, we can build a picture of how your audience uses a product or service. This data helps to identify where there are pain points or unusual behaviour in the process, which can then be addressed.
I explore the existing structure through site mapping, while a content audit can also help to identify if that structure matches up to the users needs/goals.
If you’ve got an existing product then an expert review is a quick and relatively cheap way to get an understanding of the key usability issues facing your users.
Based on usability guidelines, the target users and my own practical knowledge as both a designer and user experience specialist, we can learn a lot from what is already there. Evaluating a product in this way can give a deep understanding of real user issues, documenting usability flaws and identifying areas for improvement in a short space of time.