User research is a rigorous discipline designed to enable managers to make informed decisions that impact customers.
Unlike user research, traditional market research leverages larger sample sizes to effectively detect widespread trends. While certainly a powerful tool for business and product leaders, these requirements also necessitate long deployment cycles and significant budgets. As such, traditional market research cannot meet the daily requirements of managers competing in rapidly evolving markets.
For example, consider how complicatedly intertwined the mobile app ecosystem is and how it impacts product developers. If development of a new mobile app will take more than just a few months, the entire mobile operating system will be different by the time the app is launched! In much of the digital world, there are no constants. The very platforms and ecosystems on top of which products are built are fluid and influencing customer demand in unpredictable ways. By the time new products and features see the light of day, market research reports conducted beforehand are typically outdated or irrelevant.
User research was developed to solve this challenge, by balancing speed with risk mitigation. It focuses on creating targeted experiments aimed at unveiling authentic consumer interaction in the form of qualitative and quantitative data. As such, it is a shorter, iterative testing methodology that keeps up with product teams’ ever-evolving priorities and decision-making.
At Alpha, we have developed even more robust and modern techniques on top of basic user research principles. Our testing team aligns their methodologies with the overarching product team’s goals for the experiment. Goals include:
- Ensuring that we are talking to the right people:
We carefully filter and source users that match behavioral and demographic requirements to ensure relevance of respondent data
- Simulating an authentic interaction:
Video-Recorded Moderated User Interviews are an effective method to observe how consumers are using products. With the presence of a trained moderator – we are able to ask probing questions in real time in order to understand the underlying “why’s” of user behavior. We go to great lengths to ensure we are capturing data that most accurately simulates an authentic user interaction, including testing on users’ own devices, employing non-biased questioning and un-intrusive prompts, and consistently asking user’s to tie their responses to a tangible example.
- Providing unbiased responses:
Video-Recorded Unmoderated User Sessions: Being that unmoderated sessions take place without the presence of the moderator – users are armed with a cloak of anonymity. Therefore, users are able to complete tasks as they actually would, and answer questions honestly. This results in frank and unbiased insights.
- Deliver statistically significant insights:
Surveys with larger sample size are used to quantify the problem or question by way of generating numerical data or data that can then be transformed into useable statistics. Our targeted survey aim to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other defined variables in order to generalize results from a larger sample population.
- Uncovering key insights:
Analysis: Once the necessary testing methodologies are conducted, the testing team distills all meaningful data into digestible insights. For the qualitative data, these insights can be best captured by way of detecting themes in user’s open ended responses and behaviors (i.e. 4 out of 5 users reported X), user quotes that help to humanize and exemplify the data, and video clips that depict real user interaction. Quantitative data provided robust analysis on chart data, so that clients are not bogged down by graphs and numbers and can instead uncover the key takeaway.