User Research: 3 Methods of Efficient User Research! (Episode 1)


User research is an essential skill for every product manager. Understanding users is the core of a good experience and an important criterion for measuring the quality of a product. So, how do you do user research?

What I share today is how to conduct an efficient user survey.

1. User research is a good tool

Everyone knows that "understanding the user" is the core of a good experience, so user research is a good tool for designers/product managers to do more with less.
It can bring us the following benefits:
  • Design better products: Through research, we can better understand user demands and motivations, and design products that achieve user goals.
  • Save time and energy: Through usability testing, etc., help us understand the operation problems of the product itself, and reduce the time and design energy of product trial and error.
  • Improve the pass rate of the plan: The survey results provide us with a strong theoretical basis to avoid revision points based on the subjective assumptions of the business.

2. What is user research?

User research refers to a way that we obtain the attitudes and opinions of real users through various types of research activities such as interviews and questionnaires, and conduct statistical analysis on the information fed back by users, so as to study the relevant needs and pain points of users.

User research
However, the seemingly simple research process always encounters many problems in practice.
In research, we often have a series of efficiency problems such as [slow progress of research projects] [inconsistent data collection] due to factors such as "insufficient time and labor" or "designers/product managers lack of research experience themselves"

3.Three ways to improve research efficiency

Therefore, in order to solve the problem of low efficiency in research, we will introduce some methods to improve efficiency.

Based on the different stages of the research, I divided the content of this sharing into the above three parts: "planning", "understanding users", "write reports".

Different stages of research

First method: make a plan

Making a good plan can help us reduce the difficulties encountered in the project and ensure the smooth completion of the project.
The research plan includes the following three points: project background, research method, and task arrangement.

Research plan 

1. Project background

In the early stage of research, the most important thing is to let the boss agree you to do this project, so it is particularly important to clarify your project background. How to make the background more convincing, so as to ensure that managers agree to carry out research projects?

I recommend that you use the preamble formula in the "Pyramid Principle" to express it.

Formula content: Background = Prologue + Conflict + Question + Answer


Pyramid formula

Prologue: Before talking about the project, first tell a well-recognized and easy-to-understand fact about the project, and pass some simple information to the audience, so that they can more easily accept the following content.

Conflict refers to putting forward some information that promotes the plot or raises questions from the audience.

The answer is: what you will do / achieve your goal.

"xx is a good product" – an accepted fact.

"However, there are very few people who use it at present" - conflict, at this time, the audience silently raised questions in their brains, what should I do?

The next answer is to tell what you are going to do, such as "What purpose do you want to achieve through design revision and user research, so as to increase the number of users of xx.

For another example, for the same research project, designers Tom and Jerry talk about the background.

background of project


Tom's statement only mentioned the things to be done and the purpose, but did not make the other party feel the importance and significance of this survey, so it was difficult to convince the business side.

The statement of Jerry reflects the problems and importance that member products are facing now. This way makes the project background more convincing and easier to be accepted.

2. Research methods

Choosing the right research method can make your research more accurate and help you achieve your research goals.

Therefore, we need to understand the classification of research methods and choose the correct method. Research methods are mainly distinguished by the two relative concepts of "qualitative" and "quantitative".

Research method

Quantitative method: mainly solve the problem of "what". It refers to the systematic research on event and user behavior by means of quantitative statistics, and is often used to discover the general laws of user behavior.

Qualitative method: mainly solve the problem of "why". It obtains people's opinions and behaviors through interviews, observation and other activities, so as to deeply analyze their internal reasons. It is a kind of exploratory research.

In addition to the two concepts of qualitative and quantitative, we will also distinguish by [user dimension], which is mainly divided into: opinion and behavior

Opinion: Refers to the data we survey from the opinions expressed by users, such as user interviews.

Behavior: Refers to the research data from the behavior of users, such as click behavior or usability testing.

There are 18 research methods in the figure. The shares of the research methods are classified according to the four dimensions mentioned above. We can see how to use them:

Research methods

1. Want to know which users will lose in a page?

What we want to solve is the problem of [what is it], which belongs to the quantitative research on user "behavior", which can be solved by the method of [online data analysis] in the lower right corner.

2. For these lost users, want to know what demands they have not been met?

The question to be solved is the "why", which belongs to the qualitative research on the user's "opinion", which can be solved by the above [user interview].

3. If you want to know what difficulties users encounter in action?

The same is to solve the problem of "why", which belongs to the qualitative research on user "behavior", and is solved by "usability test".

3. Arrangement of research tasks

After understanding how to choose a research method, what we need to do for the research task is to prepare the materials required for the research in advance.

 Arrangement of research tasks

Prepare specific schedule & personnel division table:

Include information such as research tasks, personnel and time, so as to avoid delays caused by other factors during the project process.

Prepare unified survey documents:

Documents include questionnaires, interview outlines, usability scripts, etc. Using consistent documents can avoid the problem of inconsistent user information collected.

Collaborative platform:

By using Google doc, Trello and other collaboration platforms, the research progress can be synchronized with other members in time.

Gantt image

Example: The above is a form of schedule & division of personnel form. On the left is a specific task description, followed by project members, and when the task was started and completed.

In the next episode, we will introduce what we can pay attention to in the implementation of research.

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