consumer research, ux research

Follow these 20 ideas to improve your consumer research

Ever wondered, beyond reading articles, books, and watching videos, how do you improve your consumer research skills?

Well, here I try to answer that question with these 20 ideas. So, let’s dive in:

1. Spend time with open-minded and smart people to improve consumer research

Why? Well, this is because your surrounding decides the kind of mindset you will possess. So, it’s always better to spend time with like minded and people who have broader perspective. If you don’t work in a large team, look for a design community in the time zone that speaks to you.

Find a mentor who is willing to meet with you for at least four sessions. Alternatively, locate a design partner. Someone you can brainstorm with, try out alternative ways, and exchange ideas with.

2. Learn about the underlying ideas and disciplines of consumer research

Mind this, whatever you are researching on, you must understand the idea behind and its deep rooted disciplines. And the scientific approach to any research is the foundation and it underpins UX research as well.

Learn about critical thinking, logical fallacies, and cognitive science. It aids with research rigor.

Learn more about related fields. Understanding archaeology and anthropology will help you conduct better research. 

Plus, these subjects are intriguing, and you’ll learn more about humanity’s tales.

3. One piece of advice I give (and follow) is to keep a track of your approaches while conducting a consumer research

Take note of whether you’re asking leading questions, interrupting others, and so on. It is part of the discipline of continuous improvement.

4. Document your consumer research process

Document your consumer research process and compare it to the findings of other consumer studies and researches. Find the gaps and fill them in. Every few years, go through your list again.

5. Experiment with new approaches and push your comfort zone

If you work in a team, ask your design lead to uncover such chances for you.

Write down how many approaches you’ve used and how experienced you are with each one. Choose a handful that interests you and put them into practice (even if you do it in a side project).

6. Create your own study strategies, results, and objectives

In larger organizations, other people write them, and if you’re lucky, it’s the head of research. Lone designers may not have the time, or the team may be unaware that they are not documenting these.

Remember to segment your audience and have adequate participant representation to meet your study objectives. You have consumer research objectives. Right?

Also, ensure that your participants are representative of the population of the nation in which you live. Bringing us here.

7. Constantly work to enhance your communication abilities

Design communication, visual communication, written communication, presenting skills, framing issues and solutions, critique, and active listening are the seven communication skills required of designers.

Practice all of these communication skills, paying special attention to active listening and consumer research presentation.

8. Become at ease with silences

The best advise I’ve received from the consumer research community is to get comfortable with quiet. If you want to ask a question, count to 10 before you say anything:)

9. Never ask the same question twice

Sometimes we’re attempting to find out anything specific; if the participant doesn’t respond, ask the inquiry again.

If they still do not respond, leave and make a note of it. It suggests they are hesitant to respond, don’t understand what you mean, or do anything similar.

This is also a research finding.

10. Make your participants comfortable

A common tip is to remain entirely neutral in the talk, which some interpret as “no emotion,” or that you must be “cool” to be professional.

A neutral temperament is essential for usability assessment. You may have a power edge over the consumer as a researcher, therefore you must concentrate on making them feel comfortable in the talk. That brings us to the next point.

11. Learn about power dynamics

12. Learn about body language

Develop your ability to read micro-expressions. Read the whole body of the participant/respondent. Take note of how individuals breathe. Are they tense? Are they twitching?

This is crucial. Nervousness and other emotions can have a significant impact on the outcome of your study.

13. Outperform in open-ended consumer interviews

An unstructured interview is quite useful at the start of a project. It’s also the simplest method to learn about diverse points of view and how other people think, feel, and behave. Remember when we talked about empathy? 😉

If not? Here are a few links:

  1. Why are inclusive designs so important for great user experience?
  2. All you need to know about inclusive UX design
  3. How to build a business case for accessibility design?
  4. Ever thought of empathizing through your designs but don’t know how to do it?

14. Recognize the distinction between feedforward and feedback research approaches

Feedforward Research

Research that has an impact on the decisions you make while designing a product. It is the effort done prior to the creation of a product.

Teams frequently chose to build to test, which is quite expensive. To create your product vision, conduct formative consumer research such as open-ended interviews, interviews, contextual investigation, and prototyping.

Feedback Research

This study investigates how consumers engage with market items. Conduct usability studies in addition to digital analytics as data sources.

15. Consume murder mysteries and procedural crime dramas by reading, listening to, or watching them

I’m not kidding. Although the aims of Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and generic Detective-Inspector differ, it’s remarkable how insightful their interview tactics can be and the insights we gain into how they pursue clues.

When taking notes, include comments about ideas, thoughts, and actions.

Was anyone tense? Did they appear distracted or overconfident… Those perceptions will fade soon, but they will be useful for synthesizing research.

17. Do you comprehend the distinction between how, what, and why in consumer research?

It’s exciting to begin integrating study objectives with the tools and methods we use to monitor and document behavior.

What are folks up to? — To obtain the data, use Elastic or Google Analytics. We’d observe in real life.

How do they do it? — Conduct usability testing, validation tests, co-design workshops, and contextual inquiry using Google Analytics (and comparable technologies).

What are they thinking? — semi-structured interviews, open-ended interviews, diary studies, longitudinal studies, ethnographic research, and surveys

This is a complex subject, but I believe this example clearly explains my perspective.

18. Do you know if your study is about behavior, worldview, or both?

Referring back to the prior point’s what, how, or why.

What people believe or say versus what people do it is critical to consider the consumer research approach you want to use. Surveys and interviews are primarily concerned with what people say — or how they see the world or themselves.

Contextual inquiry, ethnographic investigations, eye tracking, and usability testing are examples of behavioral tests and approaches for understanding what people do.

Understanding when you need one or both is part of the enjoyment.

19. Are you hunting for hints or attempting to prove something?

When we try to solve an issue, we hunt for hints. We’re looking at how people work around problems in order to finish a task or “perform a job.”

We’re attempting to figure out why people do what they do.

We utilize the facts we acquired to prove something when we want to pick a solution or launch a product. It might be a path to take, the most successful solution. Next. Quantity vs. quality!

20. Do you understand the difference between quantitative and qualitative research?

On the surface, it appears that qual provides hints while quant provides proof. And it’s somewhat correct.

Quant is mostly employed to prove a point, however, we do occasionally discuss probability. We may need to forecast an occurrence. We might be sniffing around for possibilities or insights.

It’s like seeking a needle in a haystack. When we do research to better understand a problem, we go through all of these processes and sift through a large amount of data to uncover signals and markers that will lead us to the next stages.

The prize in this situation is understanding. We could quantify the amount of data or information we processed to arrive at the insight.

Another consideration is when we utilize data to prove something. This, for me, embodies why I enjoy my job.

It’s the most fascinating aspect of performing research, looking for clues, identifying an issue, and devising a solution. Go through the lengthy process of developing a product and evaluate how well we performed.