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Good isn’t good enough: Insights from The Home Depot at IRCE 2016

| June 22, 2016
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If you’ve ever wondered if it was time to start conducting user research, Jonathan Serebrin, User Experience Researcher for The Home Depot has some advice for you:

If you’re not doing UX research already, start.

Jonathan was our guest speaker at this year’s IRCE conference in Chicago, Illinois. He shared his experience partnering with UserTesting to conduct remote usability testing and had some great advice for retailers who might be considering adding UX research to their process. If you weren’t able to attend the conference, we’ve got you covered with four of our favorite insights from Jonathan’s presentation.

To simplify your site, you need to simplify your research process.

Nearly every e-retailer strives for a site that’s easy to use and quickly converts visitors into customers. But achieving that simplicity through traditional usability testing can often feel like quite a challenge. Here’s what’s typically involved in a lab-based usability study with 10 participants:

  • ~ $25,000 in travel and logistics costs
  • 2 days in the lab
  • Artificial environment
  • Limited number of participants
  • Strict deadlines
  • Weeks for report of findings
  • Limited team involvement

There are a lot of roadblocks on that list, making it even more difficult to learn from your customers and incorporate their feedback into your development process. With remote testing, however, those barriers are removed, which means you can incorporate user feedback into your product much faster.

Jonathan highlighted an example of when The Home Depot wanted to streamline its checkout process. Previously, it required the user to navigate through three different screens before their purchase was completed. After conducting remote usability studies with UserTesting, Jonathan’s team was able to quickly iterate the design based on user feedback. The result was a streamlined, simplified customer experience.


Don’t make UX a secret. Empower your team by bringing your customers to them.

One of the things that makes UX research so important is what happens when you share results with your teams. Jonathan urged the audience to resist the tendency to make UX a secret. Instead, he suggests making it part of the company culture. Include everyone in your UX research process and make it part of your company’s DNA. How your customers feel about your product shouldn’t be a secret. Share their experiences with the entire company. To do that he suggests the following:

  • Provide a public repository for results that everyone can access
  • Conduct training sessions to teach teams about the UX process and research methodologies
  • Openly share successes and lessons learned

One study is good, but more is better.

There’s a saying that you can’t have too much of a good thing. While some may argue there are some things that can be overdone, UX research isn’t one of them. Jonathan recommends incorporating the testing process into every step of the development process to assure that you’re always in sync with your customers.


UX research works with every development methodology.

Every company will have their own unique approach to the development process. Some may use Waterfall, others Lean or Agile. The beauty of UX research is that it fits into the development process, regardless of what method your company uses. Jonathan asserts that no matter what process you use, there’s time for UX research because there’s always time to listen to your customers.


Whether you’re trying to conduct more UX research, or just getting started, Jonathan’s tips are a great place to start building a more user-centered culture, and committing to frequent user testing throughout the development process.


Photo credit: Siteworx, LLC