Written by Lindsey Allard on June 10, 2021

Conducting User Research to Grow a Business: Methods and Questions

You must understand your clients to operate and scale your business successfully. That is why it is essential for any company providing products or services to conduct user research. The feedback helps lay the foundation for your design strategy and create products that your clients will love. 

So, what is user research, and how can it help you scale your business? It is the process of utilizing user research methods and questions to identify areas where a business needs to improve in providing products or services to enhance user experience and satisfaction.

The primary factor businesses need to pay attention to when conducting UX research is observation, understanding, and analyzing. 

Observe your subject: 

You must always keep an eye out for non-verbal cues as they give you an insight into how they are feeling about your product and services.

Understand:

You need to understand their mental capacity. For instance, their expectation of the products and their anticipation when using a product.

Analysis:

From the information you've gathered, try and identify patterns and trends. These are the things that will guide your design strategy for upcoming products.

With that in mind, what are the best user research methods and questions to use to get the best feedback? 

Once you have understood the primary factors to consider and have concrete information then you can proceed and conduct User research to grow your business.

There are several UX research methods. These include:

  • Usability Testing
  • User interviews
  • Online surveys
  • User Personas
  • User Groups

As a business, it is wise to implement all the research methods. Conducting various research studies will give you a clear indicator of your market perception from customers. The type of user research method you opt for depends on your overall research objective. You will also need to understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative research.

Qualitative research explores the reason and motivation behind user actions and involves applying methods such as usability testing, user groups, and user interviews. 

On the other hand, quantitative research involves gathering measurable data such as how many items were purchased or the number of visitors who put your product on their wishlist. Having understood the definitions let’s dig deeper.

Suppose you are looking to grow your business, it's advisable to apply both methods. In this article, we will discuss usability testing methods and their benefits to businesses.`

What is Usability Testing?

Usability Testing is when users test a product to make sure that everything is working as expected. Your product should be working from start to finish. Usability testing helps you identify issues that may arise as your product is in use. It helps you identify potential pain points before launching the product.

Most businesses recruit people to test their products by asking them to complete certain tasks in the presence of observers who watch, listen, and take down notes. You should start testing your products early and continue testing until the launch date.

The main goal of usability testing is to pinpoint any problems, collect qualitative data, and determine users' overall satisfaction with the product. It also helps businesses learn what areas they need to improve to enhance user experience and satisfaction.

However, there are numerous usability testing software and platforms, so companies should always choose the best for their specific needs. This ensures that you get helpful feedback from your user research to help grow your business.

What are the best practices when performing usability testing?

Use a minimum of five to eight test users:

Testing with five users will help you identify the largest percent of the product usability issues. You will have an unbiased opinion from the majority of the test users who will be a representation of how your product will be received in the market.

Involve your team in the testing sessions: 

Since you will hold several testing sessions until you can launch the product, let your team involved with the production, such as the developers or designers, be a part of the testing team. This is because they have the expertise and will quickly identify and suggest how the problems should be addressed.

Your employees should be the first people to test the product. They are dedicated to their work and can identify pain points fast. They are also aware of emerging issues in the industry and can suggest ways to better the product.

Keep your findings short and to the point: 

After each usability test, make sure to report the results and focus on the most important ones. In most cases, people pick the top three positive comments and three product problems.

So, this is how businesses should conduct usability testing:

  1. Identify the products you need to be tested and why. For example, it can be a mobile application or a website.
  2. Identify your target market
  3. Create a list of tasks you want your test subjects to work through
  4. Recruit the right participants/ test subject. Ensure that they are a representation of your target audience. It is best if your participants comprise some of your most active and loyal users, infrequent users, and those who have signed up for trial at one time or another. 

When you evaluate the data from each of these three groups, you will find out the changes you need to make to scale your business.

  1. Choose the right people from your team
  2. Apply your findings

You will always get helpful feedback from your participant only if you apply the right usability testing tools.

How does usability testing benefit your business?

Usability testing has a ton of benefits for any business, from startups to large corporations. It is helpful in all levels of the company as it helps you provide an improved product experience for your future clients. It also helps ensure that your participant completes the tasks in a reasonable timeframe.

Through usability testing, businesses can identify the changes that need to be made to their design and implement the tests' feedback. It also provides them with an unbiased opinion about their product, real-time and authentic reactions of the participant as they browse through your product.

User Questions

After identifying your UX research method, the next step is to develop user questions. User questions are also known as a maturity assessment, help you to measure the maturity of your users in or more areas. Your questions should be based on why you are conducting business research; in this case, you want to scale your business. Some of the questions you could ask your target audience include:

  1. How did you discover our business?

The feedback from this question will help you figure out how most of the people or businesses using your products find you. It will also help you determine the most effective channels of acquiring clients because you will only grow your business by getting more users. 

Once you know where most of your customers come from, this enables you to save on your advertising costs on other platforms and focus more on where the jackpot is. 

You can further get accurate information by using your customer relationship management (CRM) to determine the channels that have brought you the most customers.

  1. How would you feel if our business or products were discontinued?

This question is to determine your market reach and fit. If your business is well received in the market, 40% of your participants should be disappointed if your products get discontinued. Provide a field where they can give a lengthy response and say why they would feel that way. However, if your market fit is less than 40%, use the feedback to improve your products and services. 

  1. What would be your alternative product or business if ours is no longer available?

This question will help you determine who your competitors are and what you need to do better than them. 

  1. How has our business or product benefited you?

This will help you determine the main benefits your clients derive from your products. It also clues you how your products or services benefit your users if you were unaware.

  1. Have you recommended our business or product to anyone?

This will show you how good your products are and how clients describe your products or services to others.

  1. How or where do you think we should improve to meet your needs better?

This is the most important question during user research as it gives you an idea of where you are falling short, allowing you to fix the gap, thus improving user/product-market fit. The insights gathered from user research methods and questions will help businesses make informed decisions about improving their products and services to accommodate their clients’ needs better. 

It will also help them determine where to direct most of their company resources to capture and retain loyal, infrequent, and prospective users, thus growing their business.

Final Thoughts

Business success is tied to customer satisfaction. So, conducting user research will give you insight into how your products or services are perceived in the market and the areas you need to improve to attract and retain a good customer base.

Running a successful business is not a walk in the park. There is a lot of info that you require to be able to manage a business and conducting user research is a very critical part you should pay attention to. You need to ensure that you carefully select your UX research method and prepare your interview question based on your goals. With the above information, we have shared we hope you will have an easy time when conducting your user research.

Article written by Lindsey Allard
Lindsey Allard is the CEO of PlaybookUX, a video-based user feedback software. After seeing how time consuming and expensive gathering feedback was, Lindsey made it her goal to create a solution to streamline the user feedback process.

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