Stop Using Analytics, Start Talking to Real Users

Abinash Mohanty
Nov 16, 2013 · 3 min read

So you know your users by looking at the demographics data, right! Let’s assume that you have a travel website. Now you come up with a brilliant idea, discuss with your development team and schedule “How fast can we launch this module”. You thank everyone for the hard work and leave for the day. Then you wait for Monday morning for the final results, right! So what happens on Monday morning?

You noticed weird numbers after logging into your analytics tool. Your page views are reduced, only 3% people (you don’t even know them) clicked on the new Call-to-Actions, 5% people (from you’re existing email database) unsubscribed and so on. This is just the beginning…in fact you came to know that your support team received a large number of feedback mails as well. Now what?

A number of questions come to your mind such as

What went wrong?
Why didn’t our customers/users like this?
What bothered them?
Is something wrong with the content?
May be the user flow was not right…

You take a deep breath, get up and call for another meeting and discuss with your team members just to fix-up the chaos module so that it can serve better experience next time. And your journey goes on like this…

Are you creating experiences for real users, really!

You are just experimenting with your users, people or your can say customers by implementing your business goals without having a fair amount of knowledge about them.

You can’t build experiences for your end users while sitting at your desk and peeping at the numbers rather than…

Spend 15% of your time by talking to project stake holders, business heads, marketing & sales team members and convert them as Business Requirement.

Spend 35% of your time with the real users at their place (contextual enquiry) by asking

What’s your name?
What are your hobbies?
What do you do for living?
Are you a student, housewife or an engineer?
How much time do you spend on Internet?
What’s his/her body language?
What colors does he/she like?
What’s his/her favorite website and why?
Observe & study his/her desk, is it clean or messed up?
→ …and ask more related questions.
Always avoid direct questions those are related to your product.

Spend 15% to define Project Requirement by combining both User Requirements and Business Requirement together.

Spend 15% to create mood boards, user persona, user flow and come up with low or high fidelity prototype that works.

Spend 10% for the final development by reusing & tweaking the existing code by the engineering team to save time in an agile environment.

Spend the remaining 10% with real users to test the implemented module if that works. If not, write notes and capture feedback from users. Now go back to both user & business requirement stages, re-analyze the issue and fix it, test it again.

Stop creating, start talking.

About the Author: Abinash Mohanty graduated from the National Institute of Design, majored Graphic Design, and a self-taught UX aka user experience designer from India. He works as Design Lead at Quikr and worked for various companies in the past. Apart from design for a living, he loves to connect with people across the world and participate in better design education, suggestions, etc. One can connect with him via Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Website, Instagram, Behance, Medium, Github, Quora, Facebook & Google+

Abinash Mohanty

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Product Design Manager ★ UX, User Onboarding, Qualitative Research, Storytelling, Content Strategy, User Testing, and the list goes on...

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