Designers are artists at heart. Like any art form, designing is an intimate form of expression.
If the design is poetry, it’s functionality is the ease to relate with it and data is the number of readers that relate to it.
Thus, we know that design has to be functional and we depend on data to understand whether the functionality of the design is user-centric. Anything designed without the collection and analysis of data is just like shooting in the dark.
Data helps us understand user needs, pain points, goals, and expectations which leads to the user-friendly design of the product.
Data can be defined as, “The measure that helps us understand user behavior.”
It can be divided into the following categories:
If quantitative data allows you to see where in your product users are struggling then qualitative data lets you work out the reasons to best resolve the issue.
Where qualitative data allows you to see in-depth user behavior there quantitative data allows you to see how prevalent that behavior is.
In the ensuing paragraphs, we will demystify the data collection and analyzation process and understand in UX design.
Questions narrow down the things you are looking for and thus save time and effort in design.
Examples of questions that you and your team can look forward to are:
1.Who are you designing for?
2.What are their current problems?
3.How do they overcome these problems and complete their tasks?
4.What expectations do they have from the solution that will solve their current problem?
The best place to gather the answers to the above questions is where the users perform the tasks that you care about.
Asking people what’s wrong gives you incomplete answers. Observing them lets you see the issue first hand. Understanding these issues helps you design holistic solutions.
These observations should be performed at places where the user primarily performs the task you care about.
For example, the interaction with an app that helps nurses schedule treatment should be observed at the hospital when the nurses are scheduling the treatment.
These observations are best conducted in silence. Anytime you spend talking or interrupting the user is the time you aren’t gathering any data.
Handwritten notes from user observation are the primary source of your information.
Some important tips in gathering information:
1.Take photos of the environment where users perform the action you care about.
2.Ask open-ended questions like, “Can you tell me more about that?”
3.Ask for examples
4.Do not convert observational visits into sales visits.
5.Do not be distracted by writing down solutions to user pain points during observations.
Information gathered through observation can be divided into the following categories:
Direct Quotes: Words of a user as the user said them.
User Goals: What are the users trying to achieve?
User Actions: How did users achieve what they wanted to achieve?
Pain Points: Obstacles that stopped the users from achieving what they wanted to achieve.
The idea of an experience map is to get all the information gathered through all the visits in one place. This should be a team activity. All the observers are expected to write down their observations – direct quotes, user goals, user actions, and pain points on sticky notes and place them on a wall.
Each sticky note should be initialized by the observer who gathered the information on the sticky note.
Sticky notes should be categorized into different tasks. Tasks that occur at the beginning of the process should be placed on the left and tasks that occur towards the end should be placed on the right.
Differences in behavior can occur under the same task. These differences mean that users should be included in the observation process or more information needs to be gathered concerning that particular task.
Each set of tasks should be categorized under an activity. For example, the entire checkout activity contains the following tasks:
1.Entering name and shipping details
2.Entering bank details
3.Choosing gifting preferences
Any design ideas that the team thinks of during experience mapping should be attached to the wall with a different colored sticky note. Make sure you do not spend too much time thinking and pondering about design ideas at this stage.
Any more questions that the observers think about should be attached to the wall with a separate sticky.
The pain points should be pointed on the experience maps with color dots. A single sticky can have multiple colour dots indicating the sticky as the highest priority of pain point.
At this stage your experience map should contain:
Once the pain points are prioritized based on the number of coloured dots on observer notes, these pain points are to be converted into goals.
For example, if the user’s pain point is- Slow movement across tasks
the goal will be – Increase the speed of the product.
It’s important to take note of the business needs while designing these goals.
Goals should be prioritized based on the prioritization of pain points.
While developing metrics you have to keep in mind that you are developing measures for
Developing metrics for your goals will remove the abstract element from them. Continuing the above example, the metrics for the goal – Increase the speed of the product will be Time spent to finish an activity.
The above procedure if followed meticulously will provide rich user data in an actionable format.