The research tool most UXers overlook

There’s also heaps of cat pics involved.

Do you have a hypothesis you’d like to reinforce? Got a burning question about the viability of your innovative ideas? Want to prove something?

Here’s where I go:

REDDIT.

Reddit is an online community that’s full of active users every day, from all across the globe. The likes of what is being discussed in the forums ranges from breaking news, pop culture, cute animals, to japanese manga. (You name it, they probably have a subreddit for it!)

Why Reddit is such an awesome resource for UX design:

1. Quick, dirty research

And, it’s cheap too! There’s absolutely nothing to lose by getting online and posting that question as soon as it pops in your head, no matter how controversial it might be. I recently had ideas about personality-first dating apps and bike sharing. The reddit community was so keyboard happy; I had quality answers in a mere half an hour after posting the topic.

2. Ask your target audience

By posting in the relevant subreddit, you can gauge your target demographic’s sentiments about your ideas. For example, I wanted to see how receptive the mature folks are about personality first dating apps. I went tor/30Plus. What do the users of the most popular dating app think? Cue r/tinder. Want a community closer to home? r/melbourne. General questions? For males? Females? There’s r/askreddit, r/askmen, and r/askwomen.

3. Pain points… Soooo many pain points!

The users of Reddit doth protest too much. Let’s face it, the internet is the best forum for complaining. The keyboard warriors have much to say, but outside of the internet, sometimes their voices may be drowned out by the more natural speakers or the pinging of smart phones. UX designers can quickly identify opportunities from Redditors’ whinging.

4. Qualitative answers

Under the veil of anonymity, Redditors aren’t afraid to speak their mind. This is why you can bring up the most controversial of ideas and they will be there to provide you with their opinions; unlike face-to-face interviews where subjects who worry about others’ perceptions might censor themselves.

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Yes, I know (and agree with) what you’re thinking: This is not a comprehensive way of doing research. As UX practitioners, we pride ourselves on procuring multiple types of research, qualitative, quantitative, behavioural etc. Where Reddit shines is when you need quick feedback on your hypothesis. Post it up and watch it get shot down so you can move on to a better idea.

Just remember, each subreddit has its own rules on posting. Read through the FAQ’s and Reddiquette tips in the sidebars before posting, manners are important (plus, you don’t want the moderators to block your post).

Happy Redditing!

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