Curious About Recurring UX Research? Consider These 5 Items First.
Time travel to a future where UX work is cherished at your organization and we are all free to hug our friends again.
Imagine, you’ve moved past the stage of struggling to convince your team about the importance of conducting UX research. You’ve run a few UX research projects now and your stakeholders understand clearly the benefits of the work. You’ve got them engaged with the research and you are able to request resources to continue UX work at your organization. Congratulations! You are officially living the dream.
Now, you’re curious about building a “recurring research program.” You’ve seen some peers at other organizations work on these projects and get valuable user insights.
Ok, back to reality. I’m not saying it’d be impossible to build a recurring research program at an organization that is still struggling with presenting the value of UX work. That’s where a lot of us UXers are!
Instead, I’d like to encourage us to explore the possibilities of launching this sort of program now. Speaking from experience working at a user research firm that has built multiple recurring research programs, here is a list of what I might suggest considering before you get started:
1 .Define why the research you are suggesting should be recurring.
What is it about this research that benefits from a recurring element?
2. Determine who would be your main point of contact and how regularly you will communicate.
- The responsiveness of your point of contact will play a big role in the pace of your research.
- This person will provide feedback on the direction of the research and
give you a line of sight into any shifting priorities at the organization.
3. Draft an outcome-based roadmap with stakeholders
Ultimately, this will be a collaborative effort with stakeholders, but it’s helpful to think through when you are in the first stages of planning recurring research.
- Find out what the team is particularly interested in learning about.
- Design the research to provide insight in those areas.
- Return to the roadmap as you plan future rounds of research.
(Read more on outcome-based roadmaps on Invision’s blog)
4. Explore what avenues you have to recruit real site visitors.
- Rather than asking users how they would do something, we discussed what they did do on the site. In our experience, this was especially interesting for our stakeholders.
5. Outline what the first few rounds of research might look like.
Include the audience(s) you plan to focus on, the tasks they will complete, and how you plan to recruit the users.
Once you have thought through these elements, you have a pretty solid plan for the work. You still need to get stakeholders on board, which can be a whole other beast, but you can be proud of the well-thought through plan you’ve made.
From my perspective, recurring research programs are valuable for various reasons:
- It shows a commitment to user feedback.
- The cycle of research sets a pace for design iteration, allows projects to progress and blockers to be addressed in a timely manner.
- The cycles provide continuous user feedback, allowing current user insights to inform the design.
Despite the effort it takes to plan and launch a recurring program, it’s always exciting. The energy and buzz around recurring research breathes a different life into the work, for us as UX researchers and for clients.