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5 ways UserTesting can help experienced researchers

5 ways UserTesting can help experienced researchers

Stephanie Fishel-Brown  |  May 11, 2015

As a Senior User Experience (UX) Researcher at UserTesting, I take great pride in the research that I produce. You’re probably the same way, and like me, you can relate to the phrase “research is my baby.” Like any “parent,” you won’t let just anyone assist with your baby, and rightfully so!

This is where the UserTesting research team comes in. We understand what it’s like to be protective of research and are well versed in the level of detail necessary to pull off a high-quality project. Today, I’m going to describe five areas where we can help even the most seasoned researchers.

1. Increase your efficiency

Like many researchers, you are probably juggling multiple stakeholder project requests, managing and implementing one or more active projects concurrently, and working towards approaching deadlines. As you continue to wow your stakeholders with compelling UX research, demand for your services may be growing, and you may find yourself stretched thin as the pressure to do more and do it faster continues to build.

To complicate things further, you may wear multiple hats as a researcher, designer, and manager. Even if research is your primary responsibility, you may serve as a consultant to other colleagues as they iterate on designs and brainstorm product ideas. While it feels great to have your services in such high demand, you don’t want the quality of your research to suffer.

The research team at UserTesting can take some of the work off your plate by designing test plans for you, recruiting study participants, executing the study, monitoring the completion of sessions, watching and annotating study videos, creating video clips and highlight reels of key issues, and compiling a high-level or in-depth findings report. We can take on portions of a project or the entire project from start to finish. Essentially, you can mix and match our research services, and you can be as involved or uninvolved as you would like. In the end, you will look like an organized research rockstar!

2. Balance strategic planning and tactical activities

In your day-to-day work as a researcher, you may often find yourself focused on the next activity that needs to be completed to move a project forward. Before you know it, the day has ended, and then another day has ended, and so on. While the projects are moving forward and your to-do list is shaping up nicely, you may be knowingly or unknowingly neglecting strategic areas of your research or UX practice.

For example, you may be putting off improving research buy-in within your organization, refining your research processes to become more agile, incorporating omnichannel or multi-channel methodologies, creating a research roadmap to use your testing resources more efficiently, or cutting across organizational boundaries to collaborate with colleagues in marketing and analytics.

Thinking strategically requires time and space to really dig deep into issues to understand their root causes, challenge beliefs and mindsets, involve key stakeholders, and drive towards decisions.

While tactical research activities are immediately rewarding, strategic planning is essential to long-term success.

Pulling from our years of experiencing consulting with many different companies, we can collaborate with you to create a research roadmap and remind you when to start certain projects. We can even set up regular benchmark studies that you don’t have to think about at all!

3. Do more of what you enjoy

Given your career choice, I would bet money on the fact that you love seeing your research improve user experiences. What you may not love are all the steps necessary to conduct effective and impactful research. The truth is, no matter how much we love our job, there is always some aspect that evokes a feeling of dread. Every researcher has strengths and weaknesses, and every researcher has preferences.

Perhaps you love designing and executing research, but you find the logistics of recruiting and managing study participants to be daunting (or annoying). Scheduling participants, confirming and reconfirming their availability, dealing with no shows and replacements, and handling incentive payments can be time-consuming and tedious. Unfortunately, those steps are necessary evils to do what you really love--research!

Using our extensive experience and resources, the research team at UserTesting can handle all aspects of participant recruitment for you from the beginning of a project to the end. Regardless of whether your study is moderated or unmoderated, with the general public or a specialized audience, or on a mobile device or desktop computer, our “relentlessly positive” team will ensure that your sessions are filled with appropriate participants and your project goals are met.

We can also handle other aspects of your project. Let’s say you love watching study participants interact with a product and engaging with your stakeholders during the research sessions, but you do not enjoy or struggle to balance the detailed, time-consuming task of taking notes and synthesizing the findings. Our team can watch all of the session videos, annotate them, create clips and highlight reels, and deliver a findings report. We can walk you through the report verbally. If you dislike public speaking, we’d be happy to present the findings to your team or to executives at your company.

4. Inject some creativity

Writer’s block, or in this case, researcher’s block happens to the best of us. Perhaps you’re approached by a stakeholder who has business objectives that require you to take a creative approach to convert them to clear research objectives. You also anticipate challenges with study execution, because, in order to address the objectives, you need to use a methodology with which you have little or no experience.

Our research team at UserTesting can brainstorm with you to craft clear research objectives and choose the most appropriate methodology. We have experience with a variety of methodologies such as “in the wild”, moderated remote, unmoderated remote, omnichannel and multi-channel, diary, focus groups, competitor testing, benchmarking, A/B testing, card sorting, and longitudinal studies.

We also have experience using a variety of third-party tools in conjunction with our platform. For example, sometimes we use SurveyMonkey (survey tool), InvisionApp (prototyping tool), GoToMeeting (conferencing tool), Treejack (tree testing tool), Ethnio (site intercept tool), or OptimalSort (card sorting tool).

We can walk you through best practices and discuss how to conduct research most efficiently using our platform alone or with other tools. We can even teach you how to use our tool during in-person lab studies. We can write your test plan for you, or we can provide feedback on a test plan that you’ve written. There isn’t much that we can’t do!

5. Champion issues

In addition to helping you with the creative and logistical aspects of a study, we can also serve as an objective third-party to report research findings to your organization. Perhaps you have been championing an issue, but your voice isn’t being heard. We can serve as a fresh set of eyes and provide you with additional support to drive the issue home.

We have observed many users interacting with many interfaces--probably some like yours and some different than yours. To help you improve your design, we can use all of our previous learnings to provide you with unbiased, yet informed insights.

How can we help you today?

If you liked this article, we think you'll enjoy our helpful checklist, Presenting Your Findings.

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About the author:

For over a decade, Stephanie Fishel-Brown has helped organizations capture high-quality, action-oriented insights to improve their customer experience. At UserTesting, she leads a team of researchers whose mission is to deliver impactful human insights that inform business decisions. When she’s not obsessing over research, she’s spending time with family and friends.