UX resolutions for 2018

Usability | January 2018

concept representing ux resolutions for 20182018 Make your user experience research even more productive

How are you going to improve performance this year? Based on our own experiences, these 5 UX resolutions for 2018 are a great starting point.

1. Try a new methodology

goldfish jumping into new bowlEveryone has a favourite method for getting feedback from users, whether that’s usability testing, focus groups, or looking at analytics. But in our experience, getting out of your comfort zone and trying a new methodology can be a great way to uncover new kinds of insights that might not surface otherwise.

If your research often takes the form of a usability testing session, what might you learn about participants’ interactions over time from doing a diary study? Or, if you always test in person, what could you learn from carrying out unmoderated remote sessions to collect data from a broader range of participants?

2. Test earlier

When working on a new design or concept, it’s never too early to get feedback. Low-fidelity mock-ups or paper prototypes are a great way to get feedback on early design ideas.

In a recent project, we tested an early design concept that had been mocked-up using Adobe CS InDesign software. As participants knew the design was in the early stage, we found they were honest and open with their feedback, as they understood that changes could still easily be made and the design wasn’t set in stone.

Testing early allows issues to be uncovered before any code has been written, and insights can be easily incorporated in the design going forward.

3. Get out of the lab

If your product is always tested in a lab setting, you might be missing out on behaviours that arise in the product’s genuine context of use.

In a recent project for a client in the charity sector, our consultants visited participants who were unable to come to our lab due to their caring commitments, to have them test the client’s website in their own homes.

image of hands raised to skyBy testing in the field with participants we wouldn’t otherwise have reached, we were able to understand how the home context affected their information needs, and provided recommendations for how to make the navigation simpler for this user group.

4. Be objective

people iconHowever much we think that our thoughts are free from bias, our brains are hardwired to try to make sense of what we observe in ways we can’t control. One of the most common ways this plays out is through confirmation bias – the tendency to interpret what we see in a way that confirms our expectations. It’s important to be aware of this as a researcher and take action to avoid it impacting our analysis.

One way of doing this is to be really careful to objectively assess each data point, rather that picking just those that support our hypotheses. Only by making a conscious effort to overcome our confirmation bias can we be sure the insights we deliver are reliable.

5. Get organised

It may seem one of the less exciting parts of running user research, but the organisation skills of a researcher can make or break a project. There’s a lot to juggle – managing participants, consent forms, observers, session timings, research protocols, notes and data recordings – sometimes over multiple projects.

bright circles representing processResearchers need to have watertight organisational methods so that study details can be easily found, sessions run smoothly and analysis swiftly progressed. Having clear file naming conventions and folder structures is one way to keep on top of project details. And the more you keep organised, the easier it becomes in future!

Your UX resolutions for 2018

Whichever UX resolutions for 2018 you choose to take forward, we hope the research you do in the next 12 months proves more effective and insightful than ever.

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