​Project Profile

Strategic user research frameworks:

Speed, breadth and depth

Background: Detail telephoto in Pompidou Museum of Modern Art, Paris. © Dan Abelow.

Project Profile

Strategic user research frameworks:

Three opportunities are speed, breadth and depth

Industry-leading companies must continuously solve new UX (User Experience) problems. To scale this process, a user research framework is an effective solution. This solves many UX issues at once, and raises UX performance across an entire company's operations.

As this UX expert was engaged to solve many problems across an industry-leading company's website, a User Research Framework was developed. This was applied to plan and run over 90 UX projects rapidly and consistently:

  • Performance grew to processing 90% of $21B orders and providing 80% of support.
  • Improved user success and customer satisfaction in all areas, including products, support, content, media, navigation, search, training and jobs.
  • Half the projects were collaborations with individual businesses within the company, providing broad and consistent improvements across many online businesses.

Speed: Online testing frameworks:

The old adage of "Faster, Cheaper, Better" is evolving swiftly. Today's biggest driver is "Faster," which comes from agile, scrum, lean and similar processes. UX's responsibility remains "Better," but speed and scale are now crucial.

As this company's numerous web teams advanced all areas of the company's online businesses, services and online tools, UX was responsible for making both specific and broad improvements as rapidly as possible.

The "need for speed" led to an online testing framework. Once designed and pilot tested, user tests could be set up, run and reported rapidly. Managers and developers quickly learned what worked, what didn't and the top priorities for improvements.

In addition, this automation often multiplied the number ​of users tested. Where 5 or 10 users were tested before, 50 or 150 users might be included in an online framework test.

This online testing framework shrank weeks of UX work to days, and sometimes even shrank days to hours. 

Breadth: Consistent UX metrics quickly show status, issues and needed improvements

A custom UX metrics framework was developed to add "guidance at a glance" to UX research, analysis and reports. 

In a "UX reuse" situation like this, our workflow includes creating and optimizing a custom set of UX metrics. We adapt our UX processes to include them in different kinds of user research and deliverables.

For this website's UX projects, these metrics focused many types of UX research and reporting. At this client, these were applied to many areas of the website along with its tools, services and individual businesses.

In each study, appropriate managers, designers and developers immediately saw what works, the issues, and the top improvement priorities. The core web team could apply the many "lessons learned" to platform-level UX growth.

With consistent UX metrics and reporting, the company could see what to do to "move the meter." That made UX a normal part of work, producing a UX framework that drove years of constant improvements .

Highlights from a UX Framework Test: What do managers and developers learn?

Right away, readers see that 137 users did 7 core tasks. This test's ratings include  5 performance metrics and 6 problem metrics.

The demographic profile shows that this study is representative across geography, experience levels of users, and their frequency of use.

While the overall user success was 83%, the 3 tasks with biggest user problems had user success rates of 64%, 71% and 76%.

Numerous tables make it easy to see where to focus. Red metrics show areas that need attention. White is on target. Green metrics show areas raised above the current UX target.

The top 3 problem tasks are reported separately. In each, red rows show the specific steps where users had problems. These steps are ranked by "Priority to Fix." (The issue to fix at those steps are on other slides). 

Depth: Input from major customers:

A Customer Advisory Board, or major customer input events, are two-day (or longer) meetings that include key representatives from a company's major customers and business partners.

This client's UX projects included our planning, facilitating and reporting a series of these in each of their key markets.

These provided in-person opportunities for major customers and partners to express their ideas, thoughts, concerns and needs on the company's website and its online product information, services and business processes.

Numerous small-group breakouts connected the relevant company managers with their primary customers. These provided deep feedback on the specific visions, designs, features and walkthroughs of the new plan for each part of the website and how to best expand its online capabilities.

The company used this hands-on customer input, along with with UX and other research, to validate and improve many types of future plans before developing and delivering them.

Markets where we have run in-person events with major customers to obtain input on new plans before building them.

As the results from a first UX study grew to over 90 UX projects, we built and ran a strategic user research framework. This new competitive advantage grew their online businesses with the speed, breadth and depth they needed.