UX Challenge: How to Choose The Right Approach

User Experience Professionals, Marketers and Ecommerce managers have an arsenal of research tools available to them but how do you choose which approach to utilise and why? Lee Duddell, WhatUsersDo Founder & Head of UX, and Ian Franklin, (IFonly Consulting) sought to answer some of these questions at a Northern User Experience (NUX) event in May 2013. The session concluded with a group discussion on methods, shared experiences and expectations. Topics for discussion also included:

  • Usability testing methods
  • Evolving testing methodologies
  • New testing methods
  • Whether usability testing methods are adequate for today’s digital landscape

Testing Methodologies Discussed

After splitting up participants into smaller groups, each group was asked to go through the range of testing methods outlined below, choose one and debate the pros and cons for their chosen method. Methodologies considered:

NUX Discussion

  1. Session Recording
  2. Remote Usability Testing with Video
  3. Advanced Lab
  4. Basic Lab
  5. Guerrilla Testing
  6. Ethnography
  7. Onsite Surveys
  8. Interviews and Focus Groups

Testing Method Discussion: Summary & Insights

Only one group went for the traditional usability laboratory, and the basic laboratory “lab in a bag” version at that, rather than an advanced laboratory with eye tracking.  The general view was that they are expensive, inflexible, intrusive and resource intensive.

None of the participants had used or had a great depth of knowledge of all the research techniques under discussion. This resulted in assumptions being made about their functionality and application. Unfortunately some of these assumptions were wrong, such as:

  • That remote testing can only be used at the end of development, when in fact it can be used from the very start with concepts and prototypes.
  • Some of the group believed some methodologies were just for testing whereas others recognised that many were actually about UX research ‘in the round’ and agile throughout the user centred design process.

All of the participants had issues with securing budgets from clients for consistent testing. The best practice requirement that testing should be done “little and often” throughout the design and development stage, was a proposition that some clients found challenging.

There were many views expressed on the value of different types of data produced by these research methods and the confidence with which design conclusions could be drawn.

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