At the very beginning of a design project journey, there is always a research phase, which will help on finding what is really worth to be designed or fixed for a specific product.
Start gathering as much information as possible in term of:
- numeric data, through a quantitative research on a chosen target, problem, etc.
- people thoughts, with a qualitative research which highlights the point of view of people involved in the project and users.
Let’s dig a little bit more on those two…
This methodology implies an analytic study of the situation you want to fix or the field of your project. It considers the numeric values you gather through surveys or questionnaires with predefined options of answers (ex: A, B or C), in order to quantify the real impact of troublesome situations which are underway or might occur in the future.
It is usually conducted on a large number of people (the target) to obtain mathematical statistics that allow a better understanding of the problem in term of percentage.
Telephone, online, face-to-face and computer-assisted interviews are the most common ways to conduct this type of research.
Remember then to find tools (online also) which will help you to analyze the data you obtained.
This second methodology is focused more on gathering human level information: the points of interest are usually verbal, behavioral or observational data, which help to design user-oriented solutions meant to prevent usability or general issues might occur during the creational process (it is a kind of “Prevention is better than cure” approach).
It is usually conducted through surveys with open answers, face-to-face targeted user interviews or casual conversations on:
- existing products/competitors
- (if it is a redesign project) own product analysis
- general needs or wishes for the specific type of product
Pen and paper, audio recorder and video recorder of your smartphone are more than enough for this phase; simples but extremely efficient.
However, if you think you need it, there are also online tools which can help you to complete the research at its best.
- Don’t forget to talk with the stakeholders or everybody who have a voice in your future project. Your aim is to create something which can satisfy everybody.
- Performing an audit or review on competing websites is so brutally useful because it allows a real understanding of what is already working or not for the competitor you wish to surpass.
- In the case of a redesign, existing products are the key to get real feedback. Try to deep understand what is good or bad of those, what are the benefits for the company and what brings value or not to them!
Do you want to know how to put the theory into action?
Check out this article!