Lessons on User Research from Uber, Housing.com and Flipkart?

User research affects your entire strategy from idea conception to product delivery.

So my last blog was “For those who don’t know, What’s UX and UI design?” where I discussed the basic concepts of UX & UI design. (Note: Source of this series is UX Design Bootcamp that happened at HelloMeets by Avisek Bhattacharya, Riken Patel, Ikshat Jain & Anulal VS)

In this, I will share with is User Research, some problems faced by Uber when they neglected User Research, it’s importance and the way Flipkart did it for their T-shirt buying customers.

User Research

User Research is knowing about ‘who your users are, what they want and how they do things now.’

It is a very important step in designing a product.

When Uber came into India, it did not have a cash payment option for the users. This, considering the fact that the Indian market’s beliefs were very different at that time. They are still new to the digital wallets and hence have low trust issues. So, had they done proper user research before entering the market, they would have faced fewer problems.
Uber has lagged in offering features tailored to local interests of India such as cash payments, rickshaw transportation, stronger background checks, a car loan financing program for drivers, in-app emergency buttons and route-sharing tools for passenger safety.
Read more about this: Uber’s Biggest India Challenge Is Itself — by Carmel Deamicis

Why user research is important?

What happened at Flipkart & Housing.com?

  • When Flipkart thought of launching a Hindi version of their app, they actually went to small towns and villages to find out whether this version of Flipkart is needed or not and they found out that few people were really excited about the product and also they use voice recognition in majority cases. So, by user research they would be able to find the need as well other surprising facts about their users.
  • Long time back, housing.com shut the rentals part of its business. They did a quantitative & qualitative analysis of it and through the quantitative part they found out that the rentals were not happening from their site. The qualitative part helped them in finding out that the brokers were putting pictures of places at lower rates and when the users got in touch with them they would ask for higher prices stating that this is the price prevalent in the area.

User Research helps you in avoiding these assumptions and gives you clarity on what your user thinks of your product and what exactly he needs.

The data can be used to gain insight on existing product to help improve the product experiences or used to provide a baseline for UX, design and development on entirely new product or service.

Avoid assumptions about your user. For example- You might assume your users to be Logical or analytical but they might be Random & Unstructured in thought.

How do we do User Research?

  • Observation techniques: Direct interview, Contextual inquiry, Think aloud
  • Task Analysis: Experience journey mapping, Heuristics
  • Feedback: UT with mock-up, FDG, Card Sorting, Survey

For developing a product and creating a new Design, Observation and Task Analysis will help & for already existing products, feedback would work.

At Flipkart, they used the Observation Technique to find out what kind of keywords the users use. They asked the users to come to the office and then quickly give a task say — To Buy a T-shirt.
They would then quietly observe what the user types. One user directly typed “ Superman T Shirt”. So this helped them in understanding what perspective the user comes from and then refine their search option.

I would like to conclude by saying “May the Force (of Your User Research) Be with You”

If you liked reading this, do stay tuned for my second blog to dig deeper into the topic :)

Look forward to meeting you at one of our meet-ups. To stay updated, sign up at www.hellomeets.com