We kicked off 2017 with an Ask us Anything on building a culture of research. We discussed many different aspects and challenges of incorporating UX research into your organization or your design practice.
In case you missed it, or want to check it out again, you can watch the full recording here.
Since there were so many fantastic questions, we weren’t able to answer them all, so Andrew and Mira pulled together some answers to those we didn’t get to below.
What are some of the challenges you’ve seen when integrating UX research in an existing Agile software development process? What’s your recommendation to do it?
A big challenge of integrating UX research into an agile development process is that timelines tend to be much tighter. You’re usually looking at small design sprints lasting anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, so it feels like adding research is a real squeeze. That said, UX research can be a great way to inform or validate each iteration to better guide the next sprint, and the product generally.
It’s really just a matter of making the research process fit your timeline, and choosing a method that will meet that need. Carefully consider and articulate your goals for each test — maybe you just want to test one feature or interaction. Also, consider leaner documentation, and look for ways to tighten up your timelines when possible to help accommodate the agile process.
Can you share an example of how your research informed an innovation?
There have been many cases where clients have brought us in to do testing and participants pointed out opportunities and made suggestions to problems that hadn’t yet been considered. Unfortunately, I can’t really get into too much detail due to client confidentiality, but here’s a really simple and common example. We’ve seen a lot of cases where the homepage did not appear scrollable to our participants. Some design element gave the impression that there was nothing more than the initial view. This simple yet critical thing wasn’t caught during design, and participants weren’t able to get past the homepage without being told to scroll. This is clearly an issue, especially if there is critical information “below the fold.” Sometimes a design team is just too close to the design, which is why it’s always a good idea to test.
But we’ve also heard, totally by chance, new feature ideas or suggestions come out of our sessions – when our participants might say “I wish it would just work like…”. We would never have that as a research goal, because that is not a reliable outcome, but we certainly report on them when they do occur, and, on occasion, we’ve had clients take participant suggestions and run with them.
Navigation fixes are also a very common thing to come out of usability testing, and while not ground breaking can have a big impact on overall usability.
Thanks for joining us! We hope to see you at the next one. Have a topic in mind for an upcoming Ask Us Anything? Get in touch via Twitter or email with your suggestion.