What UX research is missing

UX gives such a wide platform to use all sort of research… but are we really using all of them? Find the missing link between UX and Brand Research

Some time ago I came across a great blog post by Christian Rohrer (to view the blog post click here).

Christian has been carefully plotting some of the most common research methods used in UX, by classifying them on the base of 3 criteria:

  • Attitudinal vs. Behavioral (or claimed vs actual behaviour)
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative (the details vs the big picture)
  • Context of Use (lab vs real -life research setting)

And produced this map:

I greatly admire the effort and the details Christian has put into this, and as I was gazing at once at all the most common tools used for UX research, I could not help but looking for more…

I was looking for some tools commonly used on brand and comms research.

So it stroke me: was I missing a trick here? Why on hearth was I still working on UX research for some, and on brand research for others?

After all, aren’t websites and apps communication pieces? And on a wider level when we -as consumers — are interacting with brands, isn’t our user-experience brand-experience?

Studying the user experience as a silo is extremely fascinating, and in my opinion this is even more powerful when we look further ahead on the possible halo effect the experience might have on the wider brand perception.

A CHANGE OF PERSPECTIVE

If we consider the user experience as brand experience it becomes apparent that such experience should not only be beautiful and meaningful, but must be fully rooted in the brand essence and strategy.

In order to assess how good a user experience is, we can’t be too short-sighted, when we are evaluating our website, or app, or product (or anything else really!) we should bear in mind the effects that these interactions will have on the perceptions users have of the brand at wide.

Ideally this happens on 2 levels:

-right here, right now on test mode

-continuously in market

INTEGRATING BRAND ASSESSMENT

· First of all we might want to check that the experience is easy to link to the brand and is consistent with other pieces of communication and experience (somehow this is not as obvious as it seems!).

Right here right now: we must assess coherence with othe brand assets and how easy it is for users to recognise the experience as an experience of interaction with the XYZ brand

Continuously: Monitor of the brand awareness

· Secondly, the experience should raise positive associations that are coherent to the brand essence and overall strategy

Right here right now: assessment of the emotions and messages that consumers get from the experience. Ideally this should be assessed through a mixture of direct questions and implicit methods i.e. facial coding, EEG to see the unfiltered emotive reactions but most importantly Implicit Association Testing, to have a hint of how those emotions and messages are likely to change perceptions of the brand

Continuously: constant monitoring of brand positioning and equity

AN UPDATED BRAND/USER EXPERIENCE MAP

I have taken the liberty to update the map with the key missing tools, which are basically the neuro-scientific approaches mentioned above (brand linkage can be assessed thorugh “old school approaches”.

Here is the updated map!

What do you think?

Want to continue this conversation? You can find all my contact details on www.carolfrer.com