UX Research is important for business but do teams actually know how to conduct research?






Training Research UX Research

I have conducted training sessions to share knowledge on how to conduct research and analysis within teams that have not conducted research before.

First things first...

To understand the context of this project, let me start from the beginning..

The UXR team at my current company wanted to start an initiative to share the importance of UX research to build suitable projects. As a team we wanted to minimise pushback from other teams regarding utilising research in order to meet our customers needs.

This has lead us to conduct knowledge sharing sessions that could help these teams realise that ux research is not just a waste of time or something additional to do but as an important step to achieve successful results.

We conducted a total of two sessions, the first one was to introduce teams to UXR and different research methods. The second session was to introduce teams to analysis and synthesis, as well as shsow them how they could plan for their research project.

🥇First Knowledge Sharing Session

Our first UX Research 101 session covered the following topics

  • What is UX Research
  • Why should we do research
  • When should we do research
  • A sample of different research methods

Our main goal was familiarise the teams to UXR and also to some methodologies that are used to conduct research, one of them being Continuous Discovery Habits.

I first began by gathering information and ideating on the best way to share the knowledge. I decided that since the teams we were conducting sessions for were beginners to UXR, that we should approach it in a way that is simple and fun. That way, they'd be able to recall the information easily.

I decided to use a storytelling aspect when conducting the session so the teams would be able to see UXR from an objective lens and not just in the context of the work that they do within the company. I researched ways to make knowledge sharing sessions as engaging as possible, as well as how to preview information in a way that is retainable.

So...I created Jane, an imaginary UX Researcher working for a popular grocery chain called Groceyish

Introducing Jane

So, Jane leads an inexperience team of researchers. Their first project involved adding a section listing a discount for customers that order items worth $50 or more.

Groceyish new addition

Jane and her team then discover a problem with the new section. According to data, only 2% of all eligible customers are using the offer code.

This leads to Jane looking into appropriate research methods and she ultimately chooses to conduct interviews to figure out what is going on.

She asks the customers two questions:

  1. Tell us about your last time using groceyish
  2. Do you remember if you've used a code to get free delivery?

Of course in a real situation, UX Researchers would need to ask more than two questions but for the sake of time I only selected two important questions to get the point across to the team.

She decides to recruit customers who had more than $50 worth of items, who had abandoned carts and had no applied code at the time they abandoned their carts.

Jane gathers insights from users and comes to the following conclusion:

Something might be wrong with the visibility of the offer code as the customers mentioned that they have not seen an offer code for free delivery. 

So, Jane and her team make a few changes to improve visibility and ideated on how to do so

  • First way was to change the content to be more clear to the user

  • Second way was to add it as a banner in the homepage

They then validated their solution with customers by conducting a usability test and found out the proposed solution did work for customers. They did not stop there, they wanted to further validate their solution, so they conducted an A/B test.

In this case, version A is the original, unchanged version with no headline banner previewing the discount and the content has not been changed. Version B is the modified version, they have a headline banner for free delivery and the content has more instructions.

In our hypothetical scenario, version B works and visibility has improved. A perfect happy ending 🎉

In case this summarised version was not sufficient for you, you could preview the slides that I created here:

🥈Second Knowledge Sharing Session

For our second session, we decided to dig deeper into how our teams could start planning for research and also how they could make sense of their research findings. So, in a way it is like we are exploring the beginning of research and its end.

Since the storytelling aspect of the first session worked, I decided to keep it for the second one too. I also used miro to help explain analysis and synthesis and to bring a collaboration aspect to the knowledge sharing session.

To summarise the topics of the second knowledge sharing session:

The beginning of research 

  • What is a research plan?
  • Why is it helpful?
  • Steps to creating a research plan 

Making sense of your research findings 

  • Analysis & Synthesis

For the planning part of the session, I kept it brief and simple. I highlighted what a research plan is and why it is important.

I then moved on to introduce a new character 👀

Introducing Sam

Sam is a UX Researcher at an online furniture store called Avion. They sell a range of products from side tables to cutlery. Research isn’t new to Sam’s team. Sam and her team continuously do research to see if there is anything they can improve or fix.

Sam and her team discover something, sales generated from users subscribed to their mailing list are the highest. So, they wanted to increase the number of their subscribed users. This isn't a problem, but is more of an observation and we wanted our teams to know that being aware of changes is a good gateway to research.

Sam and her team set their objectives and hypothesis in place and plan for their research.

The next step for Sam was to choose the research method, and she decides to conduct interviews. For her interviews she decides to breakdown her recruiting strategy and think about the following

  • Demographics
  • Behaviours
  • Product Usage

This would help her come up with who to recruit for her research. Sam decides to recruit Avion customers that have made recent purchases in the past month but are not part of Avion's mailing list.

Since we have already talked about interviewing as a research method in our first knowledge sharing session, I decided to jump straight into analysis and sythensis. I have used to this opportunity to work together with the teams and add a collaboration aspect to the session. So, we moved to miro.

While on miro, I talked about three aspects

  1. Collecting and organizing insights
  2. Referring back to your research objectives
  3. Exploring your data to uncover findings
  4. Identifying patterns and creating themes

To identify patterns and create themes, I created a small exercise where the team would cluster sticky notes and group them so they would make sense. (like a mini affinity map).

Since the session was only around an hour long, synthesis had to be explained briefly.

I also explained the difference between findings and insights:

  • A finding is a fact or statement that tells us what is happening. It doesn’t tell us why, or provide us with a meaningful solution. 
  • An insight describes an aspect of human behaviour or user motivation or needs and pain points. It enables us to see how we might go about solving a particular user problem.

In case this summarised version was not sufficient for you, you could preview the slides that I created here:

📋 This is what I learned from this experience

Conducting the knowledge sharing sessions helped me, first and foremost, review the material and read about many different research methods. It also helped me understand that research is flexible and malleable and that it could be shaped to suit projects and company goals. I learned how I could explain concepts in a creative manner and be objective in the topics that I chose to explain to the team.